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Fudge Fingas – Now About How review

Gavin Sutherland isn’t the most prolific producer in the Prime Numbers/Firecracker canon. Since making his debut in 2002, the Scottish producer has released just four solo singles – the most recent being last year’s well-received About Time 12” – and contributed a handful of tracks to various Firecracker and Prime Numbers collaborative EPs. For those of us who dig his atmospheric and at times heady sound, it’s been a frustrating experience. Perhaps he was saving himself for this debut full-length; Now About How largely explores his previous themes, showcasing a densely layered, occasionally downtempo take on dance music that’s never less than intoxicating.

Like the work of contemporaries Trus’me and Linkwood, the Fudge Fingas sound is rooted in a long-held love affair with what local heroes the Unabombers dubbed “basement soul” – a rich, jazz-flecked take on electronic music that promotes an eclectic approach to music-making. The basement soul ideal has always been more about a musical aesthetic than a particular style or genre. Anything can be basement soul – it just has to boast that ethos. In that regard, Now About How is a true basement soul album.

While firmly rooted in deep house (check the swampy Detroitian vibes of “Shake Out”), it never settles into one comfortable, predictable groove. Its emotion-rich grooves include warm, melodic two-step and future garage flavas (“Polo”, the jazzual “Silent Statues”), languid Balearica (“Mind Swamp”), dubwise slo-mo grooves (“If We’re Gonna Go”) and dewy-eyed downtempo beatscapes (“It’s The Music”). It’s eclectic, no doubt, but thanks to Sutherland’s delicious production and strangely distant vocals, Now About How hangs together marvelously.

Matt Anniss