Albums of the week

02.07.12 Words by: Ruth Saxelby

SFV ACID – ‘#2’ [PPM Records]

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SFV ACID is Californian experimental musician Zane Reynolds who, as the name would suggest, squeezes gloriously squelchy acid-house shapes out of his 303, 808 and MPC. His new album, ‘#2’, is a trip down memory lane: a collection of tracks Reynolds originally self-released on tape in high school some five or so years ago and scattered around town, leaving up to fate whether they would reach receptive ears or not. LA’s PPM Records have fished ‘#2’ out from down the back of time’s sofa and hat’s off to them for that as it’s very much deserving of a wider audience.

A hugely visual album, ‘#2’ sounds like those screwball illustrations of elaborately constructed machines invented to boil eggs, open letters – remember opening letters! – or some other such menial task. There is so much humour on this record: those sleigh bells on Summers Vage Cloud, for instance, and a wonderful moment at the end of Fremboli where Reynolds seems to let go off the controls for a second and the sounds all spew up into the air like a fountain of acid. Yet there’s plenty of pathos revealed too: who knows what sparked 8th Grade Trauma but it smacks of that age-indiscriminate gnawing feeling of letting down a loved one. And that’s the funny thing about this album: it has all of human life in it, every shade of emotion, all jumbled up and wearing odd socks. Most of all, though, it makes me want to grab my dearest friends, a shit-load of cider, and dance all night in a wonky little cottage in the country. [RS]

Foals – ‘Tapes’ [K7]
At the helm for the third instalment of K7’s mixtape series, in which they celebrate the home-compiled, Biro-scribbled cassette tape and its intentions to woo the listener in the space between Side A and Side B, are Oxford math rockers Foals. Theirs is a faultless selection that spans the warm percussion of Condry Ziqubu’s Confusion (Ma Afrika) and The Invisible’s London Girl to the house salvation of Arnold Jarvis’s Take Some Time Out and John Talabot’s remix of Teengirl Fantasy’s Cheaters. And, it has to be said, any mixtape that has Oni Ayhun’s masterpiece OAR003-B on it is one to prized dearly. All in all, it’s a thoroughly satisfying listen, and a humble one at that. All I’m left wanting is news of new Foals. [RS]

Beak> ‘>>’ [Invada]
Bristol trio Beak> follow up their 2009 debut with their new album ‘>>’, which could signify any number of things: progress, maybe; fast forward; or perhaps just two beak symbols for album number two. Either way, it’s a curious record that doesn’t really get going, in as much as Beak> in their bleakness ever get going, until the midway point. Recorded in their usual way – in one room, live – the opening tracks feel like a warm-up. However, Ladies’ Mile has weight and purpose, there’s a satisfying gloom rock shuffle to Wulfstan II, and Deserters is on some gothic tea dance tip. It may be uneven but there is still plenty here worth digging into. [RS]

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