After the patchwork of tangled beats that featured on his debut album last year, Mo Kolours returns with a collection of tracks that don’t stray too far from that (excellent) blueprint. How I (Rhythm Love Affair), with its super catchy vocal hook, is possibly one of the most pop-leaning things he’s ever produced. As ever, though, what makes it stand out is the weird, jumbled up beat which ties it together.
From there, the tracks turn a bit more inwards. The samples are stranger – stretched and distorted laughter in Sega Chuckle and meditations on civilization in Sumerian Mother – and the grooves pitched at a slower pace. The whole thing sits together so nicely, though, that it doesn’t feel mismatched. And the closing collaboration with Henry Wu, South LDN, is a strung out cut aided by the synth-heavy loveliness that Wu seems to bring to most things he does.
Pearson Sound’s debut album comes as a more straightforward affair than perhaps could have been expected, given the different avenues explored on the series of 12”s and EPs which precede it. It arrives as a collection of mostly club-focused tracks, neglecting his knack for melody in favour of a barrage of percussion-heavy workouts. There are moments when the boundary-testing of dance music’s borders produces some really nice grooves, playing with expectation in a way that’s really exciting. Across the whole album, however, the barebones aesthetic of the tracks tend to slide into one another in a way that lessens their impact.
Listening to Glass Eye, it feels as if it’s got the potential to be a damaging club track, but on the album it feels as if we’re coming into it a bit cold after the ambivalent opening of Asphalt Sparkle. With the spaces in and around the arrangement, it’s a track poised on a kind of tension which isn’t maybe as effective when listening through an album.
It’s the steadier, more atmospheric groovers in which the album really shines. With the queasy synth line and steady drum loop of Crank Call, for example, it’s easier to be lured into Kennedy’s slanted take on club constructions. Similarly, Russett’s slow-build production, anchored in a regular rhythm, is one of the highlights. There’s no doubt that Kennedy has a unique way of playing around with electronic music’s structures, but as an album it doesn’t completely succeed in translating that approach to its extended format.