Forming their partnership in San Francisco six years ago, Antaeus Roy and Bryant Rutledge established the Lazer Sword project in earnest during 2010 via a run of sought-after singles. Their eponymous album on the LA-based Innovative Leisure imprint that year was, however, a somewhat patchy affair, after which Roy relocated to Berlin to concentrate on a solo career under his Lando Kal moniker. With Rutledge settled on the West Coast, a second Lazer Sword album looked unlikely, yet through pooling creative resources remotely, the Californian duo have now returned to the long-player format via Modeselektor's Monkeytown.
The pair's mutual love of leftfield hip-hop is still detectable over the course of the eleven tracks, but the kaleidoscope of guttural clatter that formed much of their previous output has been refined to create a more introspective sound. Marking immediate moments of note, "Sky Burial" opens the album up in a beatless wash of almost Vangelis-esque futurism, before "Toldyall" ups the tempo by contrasting a grid of broken percussion against droning key stabs. "Missed a Spot" and "Point Return" follow to cement a brooding yet fluid start, although the ground soon proves more arduous, as Jimmy Edgar layers breathy innuendo over "Let's Work." After a flat mid-section comprised of "Better From U," "Out the Door" and "Pleasure Zone," the album's early promise is restored by the kinetic drops of the preceding single "Sounds Sane" and a decent collaboration with Travis "Machinedrum" Stewart entitled "CHSEN."
There's a case to argue that Memory doesn't feature anything as engaging as Roy's latest 12-inch as Lando Kal—Rhythm Sektion—on Hotflush, nor does it have the edge of Addison Groove's recent, similarly-tipped LP on Monkeytown's subsidiary channel, 50 Weapons. However, despite these unfavourable comparisons, Lazer Sword's somewhat gloomy sophomore album does still represent a largely enjoyable body of work that packs in plenty of well-executed ideas.
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Tracklist: Lazer Sword - Memory 01. Sky Burial
03. Missed a Spot
04. Point of Return
05. Let's Work feat. Jimmy Edgar
06. Better from U
07. Out the Door
08. Pleasure Zone
09. Sounds Sane
10. CHSEN feat. Machinedrum