Two Fingers Instrumentals Review

Released 2009.  

BBC Review

Allows the cerebral production to breathe and be beheld in an entirely new light.

Adam Kennedy 2009

In ordinary hands the wordless re-rub is an oft trodden, rarely perfected hip hop route to flog a few extra units to DJs and half-inching mixtape rappers in search of backing tracks. But collaborative tryst Two Fingers were never truly operating inside hip hop’s accepted parameters on their remarkable 2009 self-titled debut album, assuring in advance this instrumental version is far from a lazy studio exercise in deleting vocal tracks.

Instead of paring the original record down, the dual production minds behind the project – Doubleclick and sometime fellow Brighton resident, intimidatingly talented Brazilian nomad Amon Tobin – have expanded Two Fingers the album into a 22-track monster. Throwing down another 10 voice-bereft new cuts so integrated with their pre-existing counterparts that the untrained ear couldn’t differentiate, the latter tunes do create something of a strange paradox.

A consistent feature of Amon Tobin’s recorded history – peaking with incredible darkly cinematic doubly whammy Foley Room (2007) and videogame soundtrack Chaos Theory (2005) – is that the very last thing his forward-thinking master classes in beat-making require is absolutely anybody jabbering over the top.

Yet here, with the original record’s prime verbal focus, celebrated grimy London rhymer Sway, conspicuous by his absence, it’s impossible to ignore that vital parts of the aural jigsaw are missing. That selfsame freed air, however, allows the mightily cerebral production to breathe and be beheld in an entirely new, shining light.

Categorisation is only invited in fleeing doses. Signature glitching trip hop intent creeps vine-like across thwacking bass frequencies, yawning chasms of surround-sound samples and even, on the Not Perfect instrumental, claustrophobic stairwell downbeat introspection reminiscent of secretive dubstepper Burial.

It’s the instrumental of former single That Girl that signals a moment of pivotal insight, though, heralding a realisation that the pair possess potential as go-to producers for almost any act of electronic persuasion on the planet. Because its uncharacteristically up-tempo hip-shifting pop nous betrays that there is a lot more to, in particular, Tobin than constructing soundscapes to accompany the death knell of civilisation.

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