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Shackleton – Man On A String Part 1 & 2 review

Shackleton has been the name on everyone’s lips of late. Not only have fabric announced that he will be mixing the next instalment of their lauded mix series, but the Berlin based producer has also launched a new label, Woe To The Septic Heart. The first release on the imprint is Man On A String Part 1 & 2 which comes as a 12” release with amazing, intricately drawn artwork by Zeke Clough, who was involved with the Skull Disco project back when Shackleton was UK based and ran the label with Apple Pips owner Appleblim a few years back.

But before we get too preoccupied with Shackleton’s past and future, perhaps we should focus on his present. “A Man On A String Part 1 & 2” makes a defiant musical statement right from the off, vying away from conventions and contemporary trends. A shimmering intro full of mystical chirrups and atmospheric bird tweets eases us in, with hollow gongs percolating through a hazy mist of sound. The gentle panpipes and murmuring bass continue to pull things along, with pattering bongo drums, techno-inspired rhythms and a hypnotic, drifting thrill of adventure. This one’s all about the journey, the build, the progression – it’s got the same touch as the psychedelic wanderings of Flying Lotus, albeit in a more pared down way.

Complete body and soul immersion are demanded of us on the flip with “Bastard Spirit”, with the irksome menace of the super taut b-line, clunking SFX and rumbling subs strangely enticing. Echoing, chopped up samples which sound like they could have been vocals once add to the pervading fear and pull us in even deeper. A masterpiece right here, no doubt. A hint of what’s to come on fabric 55? We hope so.

Belinda Rowse