Hyponik

slugabed time team

Slugabed – ‘Time Team’ (Ninja Tune)

Following the release of numerous fragmented and demented beat pieces for the likes of Planet Mu and Ramp over the last few years, it might be surprising to discover that ‘Time Team’ is actually Greg Feldwick’s debut album. It’s less surprising when you consider that the various genres Feldwick flits between as his alter ego Slugabed don’t naturally lend themselves to the notion of full lengths.

All the more impressive then is that ‘Time Team’ holds together like a carefully planned, themed and varied collection. There’s not much hope of Tony Robinson turning up to excavate “a series of small walls” here, this is balls out bass music from the start, with ‘New Worlds’ big, frantic beats locking drifting textures in to an arrangement that twists and mutates.

The Slugabed sound is characteristically synth-heavy, and ‘Time Team’ takes Feldwick’s waveform funk to a whole new level, from the synth-bass boogie of first single ‘Sex’, to ‘Moonbeam Rider’’s swirling pads.

‘Travel Sweets’’ title seems to sympathise with the listener, who by this point might be feeling a little queasy at the pace that so many dynamic musical ideas are flying towards them, before the woozy opening bars of ‘Unicorn Suplex’ throws another layer of disorientating beats into the mix.

The playful nature that permeates previous EPs like ‘Sun Too Bright Turn It Off’, with its 8-bit bleeps and comic synth play, pops up on more than one occasion on ‘Time Team’; ‘Grandma Paints Nice’ throwing Seinfeld bass tones over a jerking rhythm; the schizophrenic jig of ‘Mountains Come Out of the Sky’; ‘Climbing a Tree’’s nursery rhyme vocals and paeans to youthful naivety. Ironically, one of the album’s sterner moments comes on the amusingly-titled closer, ‘It’s When the Future Falls Plop on Your Head’, whose eerily layered industrial noise builds to a disconcertingly abrupt ending after a couple of minutes.

Feldwick’s own description of ‘Time Team’ perhaps best sums up the albums complex beat structures, as he explains that “it’s to do with deep feelings about mostly inexpressible things”. Luckily for us, he’s chosen to express those feelings through the medium of a seriously mind-bending full length.

Tom Quickfall

‘Time Team’ is released via Ninja Tune on May 7.