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Having previously worked as one half of DVA Damas and sitting on the imaginary dividing line between techno and post-punk, Los Angeles-based Joe Cocherell unveils his new solo project Bone Head and its debut release Soft Power on Warp subsidiary Arcola. Four tracks of minimal techno and insurrectionary spirit. 

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Soft Power by Bone Head
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8/10 Ant 06 December 2018

It was only a matter of time before the Oasis guitar player started making grime and dubstep inspired beats for warp sister label Arcola. Oh, hang on, this is another Bone Head - namely L.A. artist Joe Cocherell who is half of excellent post-punk/new wave/dark wave duo Dva Damas who released a few fine records on Downwards. He’s also had a coupla bangin’ techno EPs some years ago on Frozen Border. Under his new handle of Bone Head, he sorta deconstructs and reconstructs grime/dubstep/drum & bass into his own vision.

Something seems to happen to music when it crosses back and forwards across the Atlantic. The B12 label as great as it was, was essentially a diluted version of Transmat. All of the European producers making Drexciya/Detroit inspired electro just don’t quite have the authenticity. Something gets lost in translation, but that’s not always a negative if you can add some unique personality and character to the template. In the case of Bone Head, he doesn’t appear to be seeking to totally emulate UK bass music and certainly isn't giving it some grunge, like say Rabit. There are high, pristine production values on this EP. He’s taken those influences and put his own spin on these four tracks. You can feel the heat of California hip-hop on the stripped back, skeletal beats of ‘Busy Body’. It has that West Coast vibe you can imagine pumping out of a lowrider but with the weight of grime. ‘Virtua’ is something you can well imagine Kode9 dropping into a mix with its juddering beats, chest-rattling subs and stuttering vocal sample. The title cut is probably my pick of the bunch with it’s frantic, itchy rhythmic structure played out with a heavy palette of tough kicks, chinking percussion and synths that seem to soar and glide between channels. ‘Peace Keeper’ is pretty useful too - like some Grime/UK Funky mutant with eerie strings. Rather than evoking images of London’s high rise concrete tower blocks, it’s like cruising through L.A. and wandering through some dark alleyways at twilight, with a slight edge of paranoia from smoking too much herb.





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