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Al Tourettes & Appleblim – Lipsmacker EP review

As long-standing friends from the days when Bristol was a city in musical transition, it was probably inevitable that Lawrie Appleblim and Al Tourettes would join forces at some point. That they have now is, perhaps, less predictable – though the results are pleasing. As you’d expect, this collaborative EP – featuring two originals and a pair of fine remixes – fuses elements garage, techno, dubstep and glitchy electronica, and there’s even a sly nod to UK funky amongst the beats.

Lead cut “Lipsmacker” most clearly shows the benefits of this Bristolian meeting of minds, most comfortably blending the two producers’ individual styles. On one hand, there’s Appleblim’s smoky atmospherics and ear for a bassbin-bothering groove. On the other, there’s Al Tourettes’ love of glitchy electronica, alien melodies and intense vocal cut-ups. What emerges out of this fusion is a claustrophobic tech-garage groove tightly wrapped in a blanket of unnerving late night paranoia. “Mr Swishy” continues the darkroom flavour, peppering a snare-heavy steppas beat with darting electronics, swirling chords and a bubbling bassline. It’s good, but pales in comparison to the A – not to mention the excellent flipside remixes.

Deadboy leads the way with a rolling 2-step take on “Lipsmacker” that plays down the original’s darker elements in favour of something halfway between the intense futurisms of early Maddslinky and the eyes-wide-shut blissfulness of Joy Orbison. A strong package is rounded off by a sublime Linkwood rework of “Mr Swishy” – all yearning trumpets, slick Rhodes chords and intergalactic melodies. With its air of stargazing beauty and luscious deep house groove, it’s the EPs stand-out moment.   Perhaps Lawrie and Al should get together more often. Certainly, this EP shows definite promise.

Review: Matt Anniss