Albums round-up: Burning House, Psapp, Son Lux
Published on October 21st, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Here be three albums we’ve enjoyed recently, from Burning House, Psapp and Son Lux. The latter two are so new that they’re not even out yet…
Burning House – Walking Into a Burning House
Burning House is a collaboration between Blackalicious producer Chief Xcel and General Elektriks braindaddy Hervé Salters, their creative union cemented when the latter joined the former’s touring band.
Rocksucker walked away from their show at east London venue Cargo last week quite entranced by what we’d just witnessed; theirs is an ideal compromise of funky and playful, with Salters’ leaping, bounding presence lending their performance a compelling visual aspect.
Seemingly able to elicit spastic brilliance from his vintage keyboards merely by smashing them with his palms, Salters is also blessed with a sweet and sassy ‘white soul’ voice that complements Xcel’s characteristically technicolour production – already firmly established on Blackalicious LPs Blazing Arrow and The Craft – an absolute treat.
What we heard that night is every bit as joyous on record: fluffy flute and pow-wow brass illuminate the showstopping squiggle-funk of “Turn Off the Robot”, which is swiftly followed by the racing jitter-funk of “Post Party Stress Disorder” and the chanting fanfare-funk of “The Nightbird”…
…the funk, you see, is always present, but it takes so many forms amidst the generous spread of colours and appealingly eccentric punctuation. This latter aspect come most sharply into focus on the spiky, twinkle-sprinkled shuffle of “Daydream Mama”, which frankly is Stepkids-worthy.
The album is granted a gorgeously sensual centrepiece in “Frozen Conversations”, all luxurious jazz piano and fizzy synth bass topped off with some endearingly barmy telephone impressions courtesy of Salters.
“Whispers in Your Headphones” reminds us of Air circa 10 000 Hz Legend, itself a nifty reference point for how much good stuff is seamlessly integrated into Burning House’s sonic palette. Very fine stuff indeed; now, where’s that new Blackalicious album we were promised?
Walking Into a Burning House is out now on Audio Kitchen & Obrafo Music.
Rocksucker says: Four and a Half Quails out of Five!
Psapp – What Makes Us Glow
The ‘toytronica’ pioneers and Grey’s Anatomy soundtrackers return with a fourth album, their first in five years, so aglow with pink pearls of synth that we just want to rub our teeth against it. Is that weird? That’s probably weird.
Psapp ensure that there’s a healthy dose of the cartoonishly oddball filtered through their heaving textures, subtly sophisticated melodies and Galia Durant’s smooth vocals, the latter distinguished further by such smart lyrical turns as “You’re made of sterner stuff and it’s not you who needs to change / This is only one day, one day of many days”, from the slyly vampish “The Cruel The Kind The Bad”.
There’s much to coo over: the glitchy percussion, warm double bass, bouncy jazz guitar chords and glowing keys of “Seven”, for example, or the ace application of crinkly found sounds to the backgrounds of the sultrily huffing “That’s the Spirit” and Beta Band-ish closer “In and Out”.
As is proven heartily by the rumbling jungle fever of “Everything Belongs to the Sun”, Psapp sure know how to mix it up. Welcome back.
What Makes Us Glow will be released on November 11th through The state51 Conspiracy.
Rocksucker says: Four Quails out of Five!
Son Lux – Lanterns
We recently named Son Lux’s “Lost It to Trying” as our single of the week, awarding it four quails and describing it in the following terms:
“A swirling mishmash of colours and textures all pinned together by a heaving honk of zapped bass and an unexpectedly frenetic rhythm section, not to mention all dripped lovingly over by a vocal that never needs to be anything other than understated.”
Plenty to delight in on the album, too: portentously group-chanted vocals, big pounding drums laid out in intricate and unusual ways, splatterings of buzzing synths and whirring sci-fi sounds…or is it musical saw? Maybe something kind of in between?
Anyway, back to the listing: whacking great staccato parps of baritone sax, ornate and complex arrangements (sometimes, as on the stunning “No Crimes”, orbiting a vast throbbing fuzz bass)…basically, all of this and more in soulful communion. It’s not all as gloriously disorienting as “Lost It to Trying” but it’s good fare nonetheless.
Lanterns will be released on October 29th through Joyful Noise Recordings.
Rocksucker says: Three and a Half Quails out of Five!