Dropxlife – Furthur (2012)

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Here’s one of my favourite electronic albums of the year, Dropxlife’s debut mix tape/album Furthur.

Most electronic albums, and I’m thinking specifically about the review that never was (John Talabot’s balearic album fIN), capture me greatly for a short while but I then quickly lose interest. Not so here. In fact, I’ve been worrying that I’ve been listening to this too much, that I’ll only ruin the experience for myself faster, but the anticipated boredom hasn’t arrived yet. Furthur is something different.

How best to describe this? This album comes from quality electronic stock; born from the same future garage of Burial or Clubroot coupled with shuffling trip-hop undercurrents reminiscent of some drawn out Massive Attack makes this a bassy but slow moving release. Kicking off with the elegant downtempo of “MADEXMEN” and the similar “BEXFOREVER” we feel that Burial influence creeping in with quiet, fragmented vocal fragments submerged beneath processed guitar and a tight bassline. That’s what I love about this, the bass is punchy and warm, yet brooding. It doesn’t smother everything but has a substantial and dark presence.

The best track by far though is the title track “FURTHUR”. There is a real feet-tapping, head-nodding funk here as it brings airier, choppier vocals to the fore, temporarily putting the bassline to the side. The slightly up-pitched vocals remind me a lot of Burial’s “Fostercare” actually, they’re gorgeous. Tracks in a similar vein are “TRIPXENT”, although it’s more driven and less “funky”, and “REDXBLOOR” with it’s wavering, hovering beats and creepily naive helium-treated vocals.

“NUERXOLD” brings down the pace again though, juxtaposing distant faux-piano against a superb bassline, but it’s not a fight against light and dark, more an elegant merger of the two; one side has you floating, the other has you trapped under metres of earth. “1STXFLOOR” even brings some guitar fragments into the mix to give it a real diversity and get a few more textures. But it’s in the last two tracks of  “STILLXSHOTS” and “PAIRXDIS” where things settle down, become a bit more placid and spacious, cinematic even, but it feels somewhat unfinished and inconclusive, it’s stringed accompaniments just fading out feels a little anti-climactic.

Regardless, this is a 100% solid release from start to finish, there is barely a dull moment. The production is tight and precise, it all feels very careful yet almost, almost laid back. Seriously, seriously sexy stuff, I honestly think this is my album of the year right now. Oh, and did I mention that it’s FREE? (<- that’s a link)

8.5/10 (closer to a 9 in all honesty)

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