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Koma and Bones Shutterspeed Review

Album. Released 2003.  

BBC Review

The follow up to the Blinded By Science LP ups the ante with a more mature and...

Jack Smith 2003

The trio of producers known collectively as Koma and Bones have become a strong presence on the dance scene thanks to a series of consistent dancefloor rollers - notable for straddling the house/breaks divide - a solid debut LP (Blinded By Science) and prestigious remix work for the likes of New Order ("Confusion"), Kosheen ("Hide U"), PMT ("Deeper Water"), X-Press 2 ("Smoke Machine") and Beber and Tamra ("Travelling On").

The remixes are especially insightful as they illustrate not only K and B's position as in-demand beatmakers, but also their ambition to advance beyond the dancefloor and become embroiled in the wider sonic world of songs.

This ambition is confirmed on their new LP Shutterspeed, which on the whole is more mature and expansive than its predecessor. Its still sculpted primarily for the floor but is book-ended by two serious attempts at song-writing.

The first is the opener, "Take Me Back", on which Chicago legend Robert Owens gives a typically emotive performance over some sharp, skippy sonics infused with a classy house feel. It's a poignant start to the album, which proceeds to unfurl in the manner we'd expect i.e. layers of beefy electro and weighty breakbeat peppered with a precise assortment of grainy synths, tightly clipped percussive elements and gnarly, growling basslines.

Variety is evident within the humming house grooves of "Bootabang", the slow narcolepsy of "Pusherman", the shuddering breaks of "Twisted Streets", the pissed-off bassline and wild gyrations of "Slalom", and the dope hip hop referencing of "Flip Flop". These tunes are diverse but have in common an unshakeable sense of urban moodiness and a solid, unhurried production style that shoulders its way inexorably into your cerebellum.

The finale is saved for "Basic Emotion" (previously released as a b-side to "Black Satsuma" - also featured here) another distinctive vocal cut, with a great performance from Jim Morrisson sound-a-like Matt Maudsley over a tuff, dark, slightly epic rub. It hints at a more song-based future for Koma and Bones, although it's doubtful that they will ever be able to resist to any great extent the visceral pull of the club sound system.

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