Sunday, 7 August 2011

Recommended music: 'We EP' by Dam Mantle

The first release on Dam Mantle's own Get Me! label is this eagerly awaited 12"/download. Regular readers will know that I've been banging on about how good Dam Mantle's new stuff is since I saw him a couple of times at this year's SXSW festival in Austin, and I'm pleased to say that the recorded versions of the tracks he debuted there don't disappoint.

The EP starts off with the immense title track 'We'. By far the longest track that Tom Marshallsay has committed to tape, this is instantly engaging, with skittery beats, hand claps and a chord progressions that's not dissimilar to Moby's 'Go'. Arpeggio'd synths ride the beats before some sampled, mucked about vocals make an appearance. I can picture Tom bouncing about behind his equipment as he puts this together live, layering sounds and beats on top of each other. Three minutes before the end the track breaks down into a vocal loop before building up again into a more percussive and slightly eastern-sounding piece - still recognisable Dam Mantle, but hinting at intriguing new directions for the future.

So then, one track in and already more creative ideas than some bands would put on a whole album. But there's still plenty left to entice you in the other three tracks. 'Meet Me In The Ambulance' is a more frantic track, driven by varying beat patterns, sparser in make-up but no less interesting. Then 'Somnambulate My Dear' has sampled 'oohs' and 'aahs' over a cold,jittery backing of clicks and ticks that is complemented by warm synths. The track ends beat-less, with just resonant, almost organ-like chords.

Finally you get 'Not A Word'. This was my favourite part of Tom's live sets back in March, as he loops his own vocals about 'monks in the cloisters' over fluid beats and effects. This track is effectively a bridge between the 2 EPs he put out last year and the rest of the tracks on here, and as such it feels slightly out of place, less progressive than the 3 tracks you've just listened to. It's still great though and will no doubt go down a storm during his live shows.

Highly recommended - you can buy it at Boomkat here or Rough Trade here, and in the meantime listen to the whole EP below.

WE EP by Dam Mantle

Dam Mantle (Tom Marshallsay) in action at the British Music Embassy, SXSW, March 2011

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