- by Mark Steele Release Date:2017-03-10 Label: Warp Records
Around 20 years ago this writer discovered that western music had the ability to ascend into a higher state of being. Two genres which catapulted not only the senses but the harmonic/rhythmic tolerance into the cosmos were Drum and Bass and Jazz Fusion. This was mainly due to input from a music college tutor and some friends who introduced early 70's Jazz fusion artists such as Return To Forever, The Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock's Headhunters and many more. This mixed with the likes of Roni Size and LTJ Bukem , makes for a deeply heady concoction.
Having heard Squarepusher's Hard Normal Daddy album many moons ago and being highly pleased, It is a welcome opportunity to delve into the new album Elektrac by his live band - Shobaleader One. Consisting of hooded and shape LED visor members, Strobe Nazard, Company Lazer, Arg Nution and Squarepusher himself. They provide an 11-track Sono spheric suite of intense breathtaking live experiences. A delving into a rich 20 year back catalogue, designed to truly take your listening several steps beyond.
Launching us forward is the sci-fi tainted 'The Swifty', the dub funk intro bears distorted key chirps and shrills, peering around the tight-but-loose bass/drums framework. This leads into a dreamy build up of scattered keys and bass/guitar unison runs, which returns to the former vibe. There are immersive Jazz-Funk purist-friendly excursions such as 'Cooper's World' and edgy funky clav maneuvers, stretching out on 'E8 Boogie'. Hyper-Dub Step paranoia-inducing pounder 'Don't Go Plastic' has a brash rock vigour to keep it grounded. Boom-Bap bopper and hauntingly trippy 'Iambic 5 Poetry' is easy to the ears, as a chillaxing intermission.
Driving transcendent bass and drums, marry well with the lightly roasted guitar and keys chords throughout 'Squarepusher Theme'. If it can be recalled, this was like imagining Jamiroquai plugged into a certain spaceship's hyperdrive. Menacing scowling guitars provide a discordant intro to the later slap-bass extravaganza 'Deep Fried Pizza'.
As if 80's funk-rock could be played double time, then 'Megazine' is a much needed double espresso boost. The Ska drum grooves and quirky 60's psych organ, meet up with metal guitar soloing made to look easy. Relentless drums and frantic guitar distorted lines raging on 'Delta-V, place a fast forward speed on what could well have been an inspiration for progressive metal bands such Animals As Leaders.
The album just seems to become more intense near the end, the breakneck velocity exemplified on 'AnstrommFeck 4', and finally 'Journey To Reedham' truly displays a dedicated mastery few achieve.
Elektrac is an incredible ear and mind mashing extravaganza, for those who are able to tune into this provided otherworldly signal. One huge shard of the new Jazz-fusion movement apex is here, established, wrapped, and sharing a moment of true virtuosic self-expression. There is no faulting this recording by Shobaleader One at all, it is genuinely flawless.