3 September 2011

Voltergeist - Burnt & Buried - Bad Sekta (Out Now)

Burnt and Buried finally drops, the second full-length release from Voltergeist since his excellent CDR Earthen Spirit Loops, and if anything, the boy's got weirder - drafting in a heftier dose of acid-fried synths, a stronger influence from the dub (not dub techno), and an array of surreal samples, from Calypso, to Jamaican Hot Sauce adds, to the much-beloved Portland Bill.

"To me, making a tape is like writing a letter - there's a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again. A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You've got to kick off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with "Got to Get You Off My Mind", but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you've got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can't have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music" - Rob, Hi Fidelity, Nick Hornby.

Hornby's utterly spot-on tale of musical obsession contains this absolute gem about how to craft a great mixtape, and it's certainly relevant to Burnt & Buried, which creeps into life with delicate chimes and floaty synths, before a warpy bassline and rolling dub percussion kick off Boogu Yagga. In accordance with Hornby's rules, Pork Chops ups the ante with breakbeats and sawtoothed synths, whilst taking out some of the punch by dropping a speech about Hot Sauce over the top. There's the appropriate mid-album lull in the shape of the ethereal Inna Self-made Net, whilst Sing It To The Moon gathers the pace before the final big hitter of John Canoe. Closing the album is the cathartic coda of Guillemot Rock, wich ends the album with a foreboding slur of "Science has failed us" trailing off into delay and reverb.

Voltergeist claims to have created a more personal piece of work than previously, throwing in both childhood fascinations Pirates and Caribbean music with a more adult appreciation of Jamaica's significance as a cultural and musical melting pot. Despite this, there's still a fair heft of influence from Scotland and Ayrshire, with closing track Guillemont rock using children's show Portland Bill as an allegory for the sparseness and isolation of the Scottish coastline, as well as drawing on the melancholy of Scottish folk music. Braindance-meets-folk innovator Frogpocket's appearance on the title track further cements the Scottish influence, adding haunting fiddles to a sub-90bpm dub steppa and creating a unique fusion of rootsy african structures and Scottish folk melodies. It almost shouldn't work, it ought to become cluttered and messy, but one of the most satisfying things about this album is the fusion of so many different styles, so many influences, all churning and struggling, creating an epically claustrophic piece of dark dub.

Download from Bad Sekta here.

Note: Shame on me, this review was meant to be published before the release, but due to work commitments, and the urge to give this a good going over, it's only just finished. Sorry Shaun.

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