Release Date: May 15, 2012
Record label: Ninja Tune
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Dubstep, Broken Beat
One noble goal for creative folk these days is to wave off the self conscious, slimy, anti-pop sentiment inhabiting much of the underground, with a righteous middle finger. Instead they set compasses for funk-spangled dancefloors of the soul, propelled by a raison d’etre that’s just and fairly inarguable: to explore precisely how far foot moving theory can infiltrate pop, jazz and classical without losing vitality. 2-step forward Slugabed, a Brighton via Bath Ninja Tune-smith with a slick, nifty take on inelegant Dilla-influenced R&B.
Chiptune sounds in dance music aren't anything close to a novelty anymore, but the UK's Slugabed has always used tinny 8-bit timbres with a fierce and unique thrust. Gregory Feldwick's early work, like "Skyfire," minced hip-hop and dubstep and shot out geysers of crumpled-aluminum melody in the process. Something seemed to change when he signed to Ninja Tune—those crinkles in the armour were smoothed out and the melodies became gentler, less spastic.
Given that the rallying cry for progressive bass music in 2012 amounts to "Not another shitty house album," it's difficult to remember that as recently as 2010 there was a third avenue available to producers not inclined to four-on-the-floor kickdrum patterns or wubs'n'dubs moshing. Sometimes referred to as "bitstep," there was a handful of producers-- including early Zomby and Philadelphia's Starkey (an example), even James Blake's outré moments-- that were constructing bold, mechanistic dub-funk. Slugabed's Ultra Heat Treated EP was one of the ripest examples of this style, which, in drawing from dubstep, American hip-hop, grime, and hard techno, offered a more robust sound palette than most anything else being released.
Review Summary: Time Team, while displaying shades of true brilliance, is simply an album that doesn’t know what it wants to be, and makes the adjustment to compensate for its lack of identity far too lateWhether it is a case of Gregory Feldwick (aka Slugabed) simply selling himself short, or a listener’s reaction to hearing his distorted 8-bit melodies stretched out into long form territory, but the novelty of his spastic crescendos has seemingly worn off. That perhaps the vitality of the artist rests with shorter and sharper bursts is a worrisome issue, though hardly a new one, but it does leave unanswered questions that point towards the future of the artist. Though Time Team chooses to remain close to that which Sluga seems most comfortable with, there’s a clear case of “dumbing down”, the jagged edges of his rainbow-hued condition whittled down to a far softer point.
Slugabed (aka a man called Greg) said in an interview recently that “fannies, pubes and nervousness” inspired this, his debut album. Lulz. This might be true, but Aphex Twin, J Dilla, computer games and space also inspired it, because ‘Time Team’ is intergalactic, ambient, Rustie-ish drug music set to snare kicks and sturdy hip-hop beats that at its best is deliciously mind-bending.
The British producer avoids any dubstep clichés on this recommended debut LP. Ian Roullier 2012 Time Team represents Greg Feldwick’s debut album as Slugabed, and it would seem that the British producer’s early promise has been delivered in some style. Those aware of his releases since 2009 on the Stuff, Ramp and Planet Mu labels or the recent spotters’ delight that was the white-label-only, ragged electro-funk remix of Busta Rhymes’ Dangerous, may know what to expect.
Slugabed is the gastropod themed moniker of producer Greg Feldwick who unleashes his debut album on the much revered Ninja Tune label. Opener ‘New Worlds’ draws you in with it’s almost hip hop like beats and swirling chords before ‘Sex’ takes you for a dirty Chromeo channelling electronic spin onto the dance-floor. Of all the tracks here it’s the one which works by far the best in isolation with it’s chunky baseline and infectious beat.By way of contrast ‘All This Time’ whisks the listener into ethereal dream like territory whilst cleverly fusing abrasive stabs with trance like undertones.