Since its inception in 2008, Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder label has released some outstanding leftfield music. Last year saw Lorn's Nothing Else, a marvellous hodge-podge of surging basslines and ghostly melodies. This year, meanwhile, has brought MatthewDavid's International EP by and a re-release of Mr Oizo's underrated Moustache (Half A Scissor). Now it's the turn of Mono/Poly.
Beatless opener "Manifestations" could just as easily be a Boards of Canada vignette, as analogue synths shimmer and textured crackle ripples across both channels. The first surge of rhythm comes on "Forest Dark," an emotive piece that takes cues from both Lorn and FlyLo. "Glow" is more of a slow burner, riding an afterhours G-funk melody and infectious bass loop to its natural conclusion. (Its smooth-as-silk R&B inflections lend it a smutty, downtown sentiment.) The segue into "Needs Deoderant" is just as smooth, shifting the beat from lazy shuffle to restless minor key disco complete with rhythmic wah-wah synths and cow bell.
The closing two tracks, however, are where this EP falls down. Although I can imagine it sounding huge through a club system, "Punch the Troll in the Neck" is unsubtle and a bit annoying due to a lack of any breakdown or real variation. "Vibrations (Alternate)" likewise feels like a brick to the head after a nice walk in a flowery meadow. Vocals stuttering "I am a nightmare walking" don't help its case much, nor does its token and somewhat crude LFO wobbles. Manifestations isn't as earth-shattering as many of the releases on Brainfeeder, but it's nonetheless an accomplished first expedition on the label. It'll be interesting to see where he goes next.
Buy Mono/Poly - Manifestations EP at
Tracklist: Mono/Poly - Manifestations EP 01. Manifestations
02. Forest Dark
04. Needs Deodorant
05. Toe Jam
06. Punch The Troll In The Neck
07. Vibrations (Alternate)