Jackmate, Malawi Dub

[Phil e]


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Michel Baumann has had a good 2008, with his Soulphiction album Do You Overstand as one of 2008’s quiet achievers, and a few great Jackmate singles. On “Malawi Dub” he’s got the architecture of the track just right. This one builds effortlessly from its humble beginnings, where hands slap against bongos, before the four to the floor pounds its foot into the ground, claps ignite the air like firecrackers, and a cowbell spins its way across the stereo spectrum. It reaches its head of steam when the hand percussion moves from soloist to orchestra, while halatial drones spin in the air, and hi-hats ring out across the skyline. The percussive workout that kicks in at around the three-and-a-half minute mark has the same off-kilter feel as Villalobos’ wandering jams, but Baumann keeps it focused and brief — it’s out of earshot within ninety seconds as he’s onto the next thing. Despite this, “Malawi Dub” doesn’t feel busy or forced; rather it’s taut and essential –- there’s nothing flashy or extraneous here.

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“In Flux” opens with a procession of spectral bells, which reminds me of second-wave Detroit techno a la Jeff Mills’ more astral projections, but it’s brought down to earth by a seesawing two-chord vamp on what sounds like a harmonium or sruti box. That kind of relative incongruity is what sometimes makes Baumann’s tracks -– he can slot together the unexpected so both components feel completely logical next to each other. I also like how “In Flux” sounds both oceans-deep and feather-light at the same time. Mournful but not navel-gazing, “In Flux” is one of Baumann’s more beautiful productions. “S…..Out” begins with a somber melody worthy of Lawrence and continues with similar reserve. Ever-ascending motifs drift by as a triangle marks out a spine-tingling pattern, Baumann stretches jazz keys across the track’s instigating rhythm, striking notes as though he has no plan or process, just feeling around for the right moment. It’s nice, though short, and a little inconsequential. The feeling here is of some good ideas not given enough time to truly develop, the flipside of the pace with which “Malawi Dub” shuttles through ideas.

james kartsaklis  on December 10, 2008 at 12:20 AM

that is one hell of a track.

Will Lynch  on December 10, 2008 at 10:29 AM

amazing. definitely gotta get my hands on this one…

Sam  on December 10, 2008 at 10:55 AM

Nice!

hutlock  on December 10, 2008 at 3:17 PM

Yeah, good call, John. I totally love this, and if the other track is as Millsian as you say, I’m all over it.

Trackbacks

Jackmate & Asvajit – Warran Dub « TUNED MASS  on January 14, 2013 at 4:29 AM

[…] little too high in his trailer, if you must). A seasoned listener would also recall its ties to “Malawi Dub”, and feel like both these records are cut from somewhat similar cloth. […]

Jackmate & Asvajit – Waran Dub « TUNED MASS  on January 14, 2013 at 4:37 AM

[…] little too high in his trailer, if you must). A seasoned listener would also recall its ties to “Malawi Dub”, and feel like both these records are cut from somewhat similar cloth. […]

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