Porn Sword Tobacco, Cave 4b-50 Clicks Northwest

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Artwork by Anai Greog

[Aniara Recordings]


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In most respects, dance music and experimental music seem diametrically opposed. One is designed to be broadly appealing and somewhat predictable — the other is more concerned with pushing boundaries than helping a group of people move in unison. You therefore have to admire an artist like Henrik Jonsson, who’s spent an increasing amount of time crafting hybrids of the two schools with his Porn Sword Tobacco moniker. Where the project’s earlier albums throw more to ambient or downtempo styles, later LPs (there are four in total) are slightly more beat-oriented, in accordance with his other projects, such as Jonsson/Alter.

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Released with the help of the quiet achievers at Aniara Recordings, a label based in Jonsson’s home town of Gothenburg, Cave 4b-50 Clicks Northwest updates two tracks from the last PST album and presents one new one. Really, though, none of the tracks here feel particularly experimental or difficult to get into. The “DJ Mix” of “Casual Claude” is more or less the same as the original “Birthday Mix” was, bouncing tropical synth balls off a bed of rich bass. Sure, it’s less focused and more diverse than the average club banger, but its meandering currents are otherwise perfect to soothe a worked-up dance floor.

The live version of the title track shoots for a similar vibe, twisting Arabic-sounding melodies through a web of shuffling percussion, again nearly identical to the original. It’s almost like City Centre Offices wouldn’t license the tracks to Aniara, so Jonsson had to make something “new,” yet exactly the same. Regardless of whether that’s true, though, both cuts prove a perfect fit for Aniara’s established aesthetic, which has always been bright, beautiful, and just a little bit left-of-center. While the new track, “Rhythm Box,” also hits that target, it’s more reminiscent of the Russian label Udacha. Dreamy and spaced-out, its oblique approach to jazz feels as successful as anything else on the label; not experimental, exactly, but more interesting than the single-minded approach which typifies a lot of house and techno. For that reason alone, Cave 4b-50 Clicks Northwest is both an intense pleasure to listen to, and a good role-model for others.

Nick Connellan  on November 27, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Regarding my suggestion that City Centre Offices may have been unwilling to license the tracks for this release, word has just reached us that the opposite is actually the case: Aniara were given free reign to do as they liked with the original tracks, but decided to update them and make sure to differentiate them from those on the Porn Sword Tobacco album release.

Trackbacks

LWE Podcast 151: Ian Pooley is archived this week – Little White Earbuds  on December 1, 2013 at 10:01 PM

[…] 151, brought to us by Ian Pooley, was a masterful collection of house and techno. Be sure to add it to your collection before it’s archived this Friday, December […]

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