Sophie Bruce 2008-09-12
Twenty-one years after their first hit shot into the charts, Bomb The Bass are back, and this time there's not a sample in sight. In the money obsessed, showboating 80s, life was simple, showing off was the way forward, and 'bombing' something was graffiti culture's term for writing on it. For the credit-crunching, planet-saving Noughties, Bomb The Bass have gone back to basics – and Future Chaos is close to perfection.
This is all about the music – stripped back, pared down, simplistic. Think Tim Simenon, co-producer Paul Conboy, a laptop, a mic and a Minimoog at Conboy's kitchen table. Far from an explosion of new techniques, or a blizzard of samples, Future Chaos is old school – but that doesn't mean it isn't also cutting edge.
The nine-song disc kicks off with Smog – a hypnotic, futuristic dirge with fantastic vocals from Conboy. Big dance names Fujiya and Myagi guest on Butterfingers, with atmospheric whispery lines like, ''I play Tetris in my eyelids''. First single, So Special, is filled with twinkly synths, and Fuzzbox is a squelchy funkfest – a fitting end to the album.
It's entirely a masterpiece – No Bones is unsettlingly ethereal while Hold Me Up is just unmemorable – but it's pretty damn close. It's taken time – the album was first being talked about as far back as 2006 – but this is worth the wait. Expect the accompanying live performances – purported to feature live video scratching – to be epic.
Future Chaos isn't just dance. In Simenon's words, it’s ''electronic music with soul'' but there are so many other elements too. Just like in the old days, when Neneh Cherry and Sinead O'Connor were the big names that popped up, pop rock even gets an unexpected look in – with Mark Lanegan's stylish, gravelly turn on Black River.
In an age of Mark Ronsons and Timbalands pushing the sampling and producing envelope, the originator has moved on. Back to basics is such a cliché, but it takes a hell of a talent to be so stunning with such a simplistic album. This is Bomb The Bass' take on 21st-century minimalism and at points it's breathtaking.