Art Feynman - Blast Off Through The Wicker

by Rob Taylor Rating:7 Release Date:2017-07-14

Art Feynman is Luke Temple from Here We Go Magic. The new pseudonym came initially under cloak of darkness, to obviate the need for unnecessary comparison to his earlier work.

Blast Off Through The Wicker is an exceptionally relaxed mix of work, considering the range of styles evident. The reference I kept coming back to was Arthur Russell, whose compositions ran the gamut from clubland alt-disco (especially as Dinosaur L) to avant-garde, and even country. Not only [at times] in the slightly droll and understated vocal, but also the ability to blend conventional rhythms with off-kilter sounds. Martin Rev might be another reference point.

Centrepiece here is funky uptowner ‘Feeling Good About Feeling Good’, a track that beautifully insinuates a mood of gloating happiness. One that never translates to everyday experience because, although people will often share their cynicism, or wallowing disposition, anyone who boasts of happiness is often regarded as obnoxious. A boast that goes unanswered is a luxury afforded this adventurous musician. The track is funky disco, eminently danceable, with fragments of reggae and the new wave. This 12” length poseur ultimately leads to a fuzzed out guitar solo bound together by the rhythm section. Think Miles Davis in his free-spirited funk jams of the early 70s with Pete Cosey. This is not jazz though, it’s pure funk, of the Mayfield kind.

‘I Can’t Stand It’ is redolent of foundation trip-hop, particularly Massive Attack’s Blue Lines, leaning as it does on soulful vocals and serpentine reggae lines. A great track for summer, and if I hadn’t just returned from skiing, I might have repeated this track many, many more times. The guitar solo is the musical facsimile of a cheshire smile.

‘Win Win’ employs pick scraping sounds and is an excursion in folk experimentation, perhaps harkening back to the Here We Go Magic days. ‘Hot Night Jeremiah’ is perhaps a misfire, although some may find it sharp percussion and ringtones more palatable than me. Certainly one of the more experimental tracks, it’s commendable because the oppressive mood is in direct contrast with the skewered melodies found elsewhere. ‘Party Line’ is probably the best example of the Russell influence, sparing folk electronica with a hushed vocal which feels deeply personal, as if Luke Temple is sharing a secret only you can comprehend. That vocal quality was also present on opener ‘Eternity in Pictures’ a song which is also worthy of mention, brilliantly essaying Moroder-like keyboards employed by electronic new wave bands like Japan.

One of the more original and intellectually engaging albums of 2017.  

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