Review: Phon.o – Black Boulder
Published on May 3rd, 2012 | Jonny Abrams
Opener “Nightshifts” is nocturnal indeed, starting out reminding of Modeselektor’s own “German Clap” before unravelling itself melodically to a deliciously popping, clicking ‘n’ shuffling beat that that ties the album together, weaving subtly colourful textures out of probing bass and felty waves of ambiently dissonant synths. This is at once a good indicator of what is to come and an irresistible submergence process.
“Twilight” features the vocal talents of Pantasz (think a sort of cross between Earl Sixteen and Chris Martin) and minor keys itself up for extra added drama, building up to incorporate what sounds like a distant female backing wail and delightfully twinkly bits, well, twinkling about in the mix.
“Yudasi” verges on chill-out but then proceeds to mess with both you and itself quite masterfully, while “ABAW723” weds the happy couple of disorientatingly paced arpeggios and an absolutely heaving bassline. That’s when “Mosquitoes” stomps authoritatively along and renders every living being in an eighty-foot radius incapable of not jerking their neck to the beat like some funky Quagmire.
“Leave a Light On” represents perhaps the apex of Black Boulder‘s melodic side, Tunde Olaniran’s smooth, harmonised vocals working a treat alongside staccato stabs of synth string and melodious background clutter, and closer “12th” – the 11th track, it must be noted – underlines all that’s gone before it as a six-minute mini-epic.
Key to this album’s success is that not one track outstays its welcome, “12th” being the longest-running track by a good sixty-one seconds. Phon.o combines deft electronic architecture with a deft approach to melody, and you can’t say defter than that.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!