The British producer avoids any dubstep clichés on this recommended debut LP.
Ian Roullier 2012-04-24
Time Team represents Greg Feldwick’s debut album as Slugabed, and it would seem that the British producer’s early promise has been delivered in some style. Those aware of his releases since 2009 on the Stuff, Ramp and Planet Mu labels or the recent spotters’ delight that was the white-label-only, ragged electro-funk remix of Busta Rhymes’ Dangerous, may know what to expect.
That said, Slugabed’s approach dictates that any expectations should always remain wide open. Often labelled as dubstep, refreshingly there isn’t a clichéd farting bassline to be heard anywhere on Time Team. Slugabed walks a similar path to that of Burial in that he ploughs his own sonic furrow, regardless of what his less-adventurous peers feel dubstep "should" be about.
The album starts in spectacular fashion as the fizzing opening chords of New Worlds are smashed into by huge bass hits and head-nodding hip hop beats, striking the perfect balance between lightness and darkness. This is followed by the dirty funk of recent single Sex, which is equally impressive as a winsome electronic melody is joined by the filthiest and fattest of basslines.
The quality doesn’t dip, with the drifting, flawed beauty and trance-like stabs of All This Time being followed by the staggered beats, monolithic bass and distant wolf howls of Moonbeam Rider. Elsewhere, Unicorn Suplex offers up the simple pleasures of sun-drenched chords and emotive, happiness-inducing synth-lines, and the sweetly struck Grandma Paints Nice somehow hangs onto heartstrings with its nostalgic air.
Many tracks seem to carry elements over from the previous one so that the whole album, while diverse in its tone and scope, retains its cohesion. It finally unravels with closing track It's When the Future Falls Plop on Your Head and its fractured collage of sci-fi whooshes and broken computer bleeps.
As much for the head and heart as it is for the feet, Feldwick manages to combine humour, melody and movement with thickly layered funk. This is an album worth living and breathing with, and which rewards acquaintance with its wealth of emotional nuances and playful eccentricities.