Double LP £16.49 HAM009
Debut album from Remote Viewer/Hood man. Ltd to 250 copies. 2LP with download codes.
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One thing that keeps the momentum of music interesting for me is when artists explore genres they don’t necessarily have roots in or are associated with (not counting fashion victim band wagon jumping sheep). For example techno has recently been invigorated by artists migrating from genres to create their vision of the sound. Cue A New Line (Related) a pseudonym of Andrew Johnson (Hood/ The Boats/ Remote Viewer). Under this handle he explores the emotional capabilities of old machines through a sort of dub techno template he’s blown wide open. As much as I like dub techno I can’t deny it’s heavily formulaic and has reasonably strict parameters. Or does it? For every shining dub techno 12” there’s at least fifteen weak, diluted ones. This however is more than a disposable flirtation side project working within the format. The opening track makes me imagine waking up late at night with the radio still playing. Interference appears and then from the crackle emerges some radio station on a faraway planet transmitting the ghosts of Chain Reaction using Gescom as mediums. There’s that sort of crunch but it’s not a harsh digital one, rather a warm analogue fuzz. The eerie groove emerges hypnotically, as crystalline synths and brittle glassy electronic sounds nestle together in perfect harmony to mesmerising effect. All the while the machines speak of an untold sadness. That’s what’s different about this record compared to a lot of classic Berlin school dub techno clones. This has personality, a very distinct character with a very direct line of communication through his machines to the listener.
The second track begins with a lush melancholy fluttering melodic synth loop that recalls prime early UK ambient techno, specifically The Black Dog/ Artificial Intelligence/ Warp era. Sure there are loops but rather than sterile patterns, these are very intricate and clearly from someone that can really “play”. Balancing the hypnotic qualities of repetition with evolution so things feel like they’re in a constant state of flux but held down by a groove.
Before you get too comfortable though things switch gear slightly over on the second side with a foggy industrial, darker ambient track conjuring images of battleship grey future skies with the odd glimmer of light piercing through the thick haze. Again heavy emotional resonance on this one. After the rains have passed the sun shines once again via some steady downtempo dubby house with delayed rimshots and multiple textured layers to tune in and out of; all draped around a Chain Reaction/ Maurizio flavoured groove. Finally on the last tune Andrew shows James Blake how it should be done. I can picture Blake legging it down the street with his Mercury Music prize in an Aldi carrier bag “I’m the king!!!!”
As pleasant enough as this record is, just spinning away in the background, if you really lock into it, it'll get ya.
10/10 Ian Hawgood Customer review, 26th February 2014
Home Assembly seem to only put out pretty bloody brilliant work. Given the personnel involved that is hardly surprising but this latest release is something else. It seems like an age since I heard Andrew's work with Craig under their Remote Viewer guise. Whilst those same qualities remain; namely, attention to subtle tiny details, lovely development, and some off-kilter hypnotic charm, what really got me after some obsessive listening this past week, is just how damn catchy it is. My neighbours (and the mrs) may not agree with me at 3am admittedly, but blasting this out or even having it on in the background as I am now, this has renewed my faith in a certain spectrum of music that, whilst overtly-praised, is in fact generally boring twaddle. 'S/T' is a huge breath of fresh air; a remarkable album that I just can't stop playing and if its not regarded as a classic in years to come, I'll go out and buy a hat, then eat it. A truly superb record, its good to have you back Andrew.
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