"Preset" and "Scum," two new sides from the ostensibly anonymous Crooked Man, sound lost in time: tidily digital yet wholeheartedly song-oriented, they could have been written any time in the last three decades but only produced within the last few years. Turns out, that's not too far from the truth. Crooked Man is Richard Barratt, known as Parrot during his late '80s/early '90s heyday as a DJ in Sheffield. Barratt hasn't been entirely off the map—he nabbed some songwriting credits on Róisín Murphy's 2007 LP Overpowered and Toddla T's Skanky Skanky album, and his Sweet Exorcist material with Richard H. Kirk recently saw reissue on Warp—but these moodily psychedelic Crooked Man cuts, the inaugural release in a series of four strictly limited LPs, are the first time he's dipped his toe in the underground in awhile.
"Preset," a churning, blunted beast of a house tune, is the most whole of the two: Densely packed with swirling drum lines, a muted pulse of a melody and hefty vocal arrangements, it evokes a long night at the club that's difficult to put back together the next afternoon. "Scum (Always Rises To The Top)," on the other hand, is razor-sharp, with the skippy rhythms of latter-day Luomo and reverb-free synths that scrub like sandpaper. The vocals, as soulful as those on the flip but less integrated, are off-putting at first, but the track's jagged edges certainly live up to Barratt's chosen alias.
Tracklist: Crooked Man - PresetA Preset
B Scum (Always Rises To The Top)