The Sex Tags Mania cofounder teams up with the Finnish artist on this lush and free-flowing LP.
Fett Burger's 2014 collaboration with the Finnish producer Stiletti Ana (real name Ilari Larjosto), Seriously Goodbye, fulfilled the promise of this approach with a spacious 12-minute epic backed by an equally evocative beatless version. The two artists crafted those tracks in Larjosto's pristine Haista II studio, a warren of analogue synths synced to a Soundcraft TS24 board. Having found a natural chemistry, Larjosto and Fett Burger hunkered down once again at Haista II, surfacing with the nine-track 358 Men, a lush collaborative album (and Fett Burger's first) that has what so many dance floor albums lack—a beginning, middle and end.
That's down to the duo's equal interest in dubby ambient pieces and beat-driven, slo-mo epics, as well as an ability to use the well-tempered studio as an instrument (they nod to Haista II's handy MIDI-brain on "Time Computer"). After an intro that builds thick atmosphere around a celestial arpeggio, a sturdy breakbeat launches into action. Lesser producers would stop there, luxuriating in the sound and interaction of the vintage synths and drum machines, but for Burger and Larjosto, that's just a base. The track's mix of live drums and analogue drum machines recalls the classic DFA drum sound, and throughout the album, hand percussion, subtle dub outs and chorused pads form a pleasantly blurry haze. "Win Some Lose Some" is playful and proggy, with Larjosto laying down a complex series of six-note arpeggios. The side-long "Smell The Gasoline" is a journey unto itself. It starts off as a shambolic 90 BPM disco dub before the drums evaporate into delay and a forlorn progression tugs at the heartstrings. Eventually, we fade to black with a creepy, solitary synth pulse.
Ambient interludes colour in the corners of the album, and though that's a well-trod idea, both Fett Burger and Larjosto seem to follow in the footsteps of Sähkö when they're in experimental mode. The propulsive, Finnish-country-code-referencing title track is preceded by nearly three-minutes of Radiophonic abstraction; the intro is as intriguing as the ambient breakbeat banger that follows. It's the push and pull of these instincts, the abstract and the affable, along with a deep well of Kosmische, space disco and ambient house influences, that make 358 Men such a laidback and varied jaunt. While Sotofett took us on a whirlwind tour through various studios, collaborators and styles on his first album, Fett Burger and Larjosto didn't leave the room, patiently chipping away at a subtly impressive LP.