Plaid - Spokes
Warp, purveyors of some of the finest electronica, offers us this from Plaid. I often think that many people don’t give Warp a chance, perhaps having heard some of Aphex Twin’s or Squarepusher’s more, shall we say, experimental noodlings. More’s the pity as they give us some of the most elegant, beautiful and fiercely intelligent music around. In these days of manufactured dross, mainstream R&B bilge and identikit garage bands being touted as The Next Big Thing it’s hugely refreshing to see Plaid continuing their evolution with Spokes.
The album takes a more energetic direction than earlier albums Not for Threes & Rest Proof Clockwork and seems a natural progression of their last album Double Figure. It opens with the eerie soundscape of Even Spring which soon develops into a skittery breakbeat. Next up is Crumax Rins, a test of your systems bass-handling ability if ever there was one. This track reminds me of early work by label mates Boards of Canada – a resounding vote of confidence. Upona is, frankly, nuts but none the worse for that. Zeal is almost industrial. Cedar City speeds the pace up again, this time offering chimes and insistent tones to drive the beats. B Born Droid is much slower and almost dreamlike, particularly effective with headphones. All of the tracks work best listening to the album as a whole, with the listener taken down a fast-evolving road of electronic variety and class.
Almost their most consistent album to date, but not quite reaching the heights of Not for Threes & Rest Proof Clockwork, Spokes is nonetheless another solid offering and as such can be purchased with confidence.