It’s a tired and hackneyed phrase, but you can’t help but feel that on his second Ninja Tune EP, ‘Sun Too Bright Turn It Off’, there may be some merit to bandying about the phrase ‘forward-thinking music’ in the vicinity of Slugabed. As the bizzare title indicated, the 22 year-old producer has always cut a fine figure in the realms of the eccentric, the mechanised, the digital and the futuristic, and this latest offering seems to suggest that little has changed in his form here – in fact, it seems as if Greg Feldwick is more hard-wired into the decades to come than ever.
The EP’s title track struts like a piledriver-footed intergalactic hip-hop beat. Revelling in its own robotic swagger, it sets the tone for a record that manages to juxtapose intrigue and hyperactivity with a disarmingly cold, mechanical edge. Slugabed is undeniably an exciting, unpredictable artist, but sometimes the ever-present futurism is too intense, too messy. ’Whirlpool’ is bright and warming, at first analogue synth washes glint like light off cold steel – but occasionally its engaging premise can rapidly lose credence under a reoccurring hail of creaking, roaring glitches.
In contrast, ‘Depth Perception’ and ‘Dragon Drums’ seem to strike a perfect balance between presence and percussion, showcasing a producer in control of complexities and capable of painting broad pictures. Slugabed is an artist capable of turning great ideas into vast, immaculately enacted and galaxy-spanning visions. Perhaps sometimes his rampant explorations into the furthest reaches of space may leave the listener out in the cold somewhat, but, whilst flawed, for the most part Slugabed’s fervoured musical voyages allow exploration of far-off realms and ever-changing worlds – each more winding, multi-faceted and engaging than the last.
Words: Mike Coleman
The ‘Sun Too Bright Turn It Off’ EP is out October 24th on Ninja Tune.