Albums of the week

28.05.12 Words by: Charlie Jones

Jam City – Classical Curves [Night Slugs]
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‘Classical Curves’ is a clever album made by a very clever artist. Jam City (Jack Latham) is a producer who always seems to be overspilling with ideas, and ‘Classical Curves’ sounds like an album made by a ceaselessly curious mind pushing and stretching club music as far as it will go. Every sharp beat and frenzied twitch of ‘Classical Curves’ sounds inflected with purpose. It’s not all about the concepts though. The reason ‘Classical Curves’ works so well is that it packs one hefty punch. Nothing gallops with the kind of hyped up immediacy as The Courts.

It’s a varied spread of moods he’s working with – Her is a piece of razor sharp juddering juke, while How We Relate To The Body is all sparkling synths fizzing exuberantly, while Strawberries starts as one of the most intriguing sparse club work outs made this year, and then morphs into a song that swoons and sweeps glacially in a way that is almost romantic. The common thread is the brittle, paired-back quality to all the tracks. Every song is a stripped down beast, only the barest and most necessary of elements left it. On ‘Classical Curves’ the key trick is how much he manages to do with so little, and it makes for one of the most charismatic set of tracks you’re likely to hear all year. [TEE]

Mark Leckey – ‘Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore’
Turner Prize-winning visual artist Mark Leckey’s 1999 film ‘Fiorucci Made Me Hardcore’ is a totally incredible chronological cut-up of dance culture from northern soul to acid house. The soundtrack has just been released on vinyl, and while it works better with the film (of course), it’s a masterful soundscape that takes in carnival rhythms, ambient space, acid house clicks and stunning samples of everything from a stream of brand names to the statement “We don’t need anyone. We are independent.” It’s ghostly, with a tone that’s both affectionate and uneasy, a formula that is now pretty common around areas of the internet that follow the whole hauntological thing, and while much really boring sub-Burial music has been made that follows this, ‘Fiorucci Makes Me Hardcore’ is an instinctive and overwhelming piece of art, it really is. [CRJ]

2:54 – ’2:54’
2:54 are a band named after a Melvins drum roll, fittingly, because they like sparse, rhythmic stoner rock music, and their album tries to and mostly succeeds in sounding both withheld and sexy. The best bits on this album are when Colette and Hannah Thurlow’s reticence veers towards abstraction, or when the tension mounts in subtle steps, or the unease grows immaculate. Sometimes it can sound a little conservative in structure – there are terrific ideas here, but many are unnecessarily reined in. Basically, 2:54 are cleverer and more artful than many have realised, not least the band themselves. Magical moments, and much promise. [CRJ]

Alt-J – ∆n ∆wesome W∆ve
Excruciating name aside, Alt-J are a pretty great band, and this album is quite interesting. They make self-consiously quirky indie, have unconventional time-signatures and sing about triangles and war photographers. It’s light, fun music, and really well-put together, and though it’s a bit too try-hard to totally fall in love with, it’s a decent enough listen. [CRJ]

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