Jackson and His Computerband - Glow

by Rich Morris Rating:8 Release Date:2013-09-02

Gorgeous, pouting, sandy-tressed Jackson Fourgeaud has taken eight years to deliver the follow-up to his debut, Smash, which found its sweet-spot partway between the well-curated electro-funk of Daft Punk and the glitch attack of Aphex Twin. Glow continues his odyssey into a kind of psych-disco head-space (not cosmic disco - though there are definite traces of that sound thought the album, Fourgeaud palette is far too eclectic for any definitive labels to be slung on his music.)

Glow works works its way through every dance vogue currently going (and some that definitely aren't - witness 'Blood Bust', he's breathtakingly brutal mangling of gabba and drill 'n' bass) but never feels like its just ticking off cool-cred references or giving the listener an anaemic history lesson. From Orgysteria's slouching John Carpenter melody and vocal hook nicked off Laurie Anderson's 'O Superman', to 'Vista' and 'Seal' with their fantastic mix of Rustie-style glitch-tronica and sugar-rush melodies, it's clear Fourgeaud knows his electronic music inside-out and is happy to mash it all up and see what new flavours he can create.

Glow is also psychedelic in a way few rock records are these days. First track 'Blow' cheekily rips off the melody to 'Dear Prudence' but fucks it on the ear by adding chopped 'n' screwed vocals, then piles fuzzy sounds on top of each other until you're lost in an aural landslide. Then, somehow, he pulls it all back into focus as a lovely, 60s-styled psych-pop ditty. You won't hear Noel Gallagher doing that any time soon.

Another standout moment is closing number 'Billy', an extended industrial workout which again bares the markings of John Carpenter as well as Nine Inch Nails, but still somehow sounds carefree, even breezy. After a lengthy breakdown, it suddenly explodes into something completely joyous yet still abrasive - part DJ Shadow, part Squarepusher, part euphoric anthem. 'Dead Living Things', meanwhile, creates genius pop out of a bogglingly unlikely mix of The Beatles, The Knife and NIN. It sounds like John Lennon in a K-hole, or Trent Reznor blissed-out of the greatest acid trip imaginable. Either way, it's bloody good shit.

Not everything works, but even the bits that don't have a certain charm. 'G.I. Jane (Fill Me Up)' sounds like mid-90s Bowie when he was doing his whole industrial-electro-drum 'n' bass thing. It's the most straight-forward pop song on the album which some glitchy, thrashy moments ostentatiously bolted on, but it reminds me of Bowie so I like it.

Glow is, for me, the record Random Access Memories and Acid Washed's House of Melancholy promised to be but weren't: a thrilling, non-slavish smash 'n' grab through the history of electronic music, from The Beatles and Bowie to Aphex Twin and Rustie. It's irreverent, playful, but so confident and assured it can summon potential new genres before your very ears. It's fearless - just like the best electronic music has always been.

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