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Slugabed – ‘Sun Too Bright Turn It Off’ (Ninja Tune)

Greg Feldwick is one of those beat-peddling musical sponges that Ninja Tune seem to have a never-ending supply of in their vaults. Within his work as Slugabed, the Brighton-by-way-of-Bath producer channels everything from jerky, ‘post-Dilla’ beats to astro-funk bass music, with a healthy appreciation for Luke Vibert-type synthesiser jams thrown in for good measure. The last time we saw Feldwick, he was damaging our necks with the 8-bit crushed
bounce of tracks like ‘My Sense of Smell Comes and Goes’ from the ‘Moonbeam Rider’ EP earlier this year, or his appearance on the ‘Ninja Tune XX, Vol 2’ collection with that rarest of things – a reworking of Roots Manuva’s untouchable ‘Witness (1 Hope)’ that actually works.

Now Feldwick returns, less than five months after ‘Moonbeam Rider’, with another extended player of psychotically opaque productions calling itself ‘Sun Too Bright Turn It Off’. Picking up the baton from his previous Ninja Tune work (including the equally frantic ‘Ultra Heat Treated’ EP), ‘STBTIO’ kicks off with its rampant title track that
wastes no time in asserting the EP’s intentions. Gleeful video game tones, aggressive beats, arpeggiated chords and blasts of bass so powerful it seems to knock out the rest of the track, setting out Feldwick’s stall early on, and it’s an ominously strong start.

‘Depth Perception’ is a syrup-thick production with so many layers and compositional ideas it’s sometimes disorientating, but it’s to Feldwick’s great credit (and the solid syncopated-yet-steady beats) that the track holds together and doesn’t float off in hundreds of different musical directions.

A highlight comes with ‘Whirlpool’ – if psychedelic cyber-dancehall doesn’t already exist as a genre, Feldwick may have just invented it here. Adding to the chameleonic flitting between styles already seen on ‘STBTIO’, the track’s bounce is led rhythmically and melodically by a demented sine wave riff as Feldwick shows some impressive (and original) production skills.

The EP closes with a brief, beatless ‘synthphony’ that dispenses with any lingering doubt about Feldwick’s love of the things, and as fun and challenging as Slugabed EPs are, on the strength of what’s on show here it surely can’t be too long before Ninja Tune let him loose on a full length release. Until then, the dementia-inducing ‘Sun Too Bright Turn it Of’ will suffice.

Tom Quickfall

‘Sun Too Bright Turn It Off’ is released via Ninja Tune on October 31.