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Ital – Culture Clubs review

Not Not Fun, the backwards glancing Los Angeles label run with a DIY ethos by Amanda Brown, has secured its spot in the zeitgeist thanks to continual references from Simon Reynolds ahead of his new book Retromania, most notably a central feature in a recent editon of The Wire magazine. The unexpected emergence of Not Not Fun offshoot imprint 100% Silk has been one of this year’s more pleasant surprises, unveiling deliciously oddball, lo fi deviations on the house and disco template from the likes of Maria Minerva, Cuticle, Gillette and Ital.

The latter breaks free here with a superlative release on Lovers Rock that comes backed with added incentive to investigate in the shape of a Hieroglyphic Being remix. “Culture Clubs” could be viewed as the natural successor to the shimmering house pulse of “One Hit” from Ital’s Theme, with Ital, aka Daniel Martin-McCormick, demonstrating an elegantly intricate approach to dizzying shifts in rhythmic direction throughout. Spread across a delicately stripped down array of percussive touches, the increasingly schizoid directions the melding of chords and strings take have a truly narcotic effect.

McCormick employs similar pitch shifting methods on “Eternally Yours” though this track discards with the shimmering melodics – in its place is raw, beatdown Detroit house with tinny, downwards glancing, stunted rhythms at the fore whilst stretched out vocals cascade around the nether regions. Never quite finding a natural groove, instead the track uneasily shifts, accruing increasingly abstract intentions as it progresses.

Given the esoteric sounds that permeate through every Mathematics release, label boss Jamal Moss aka Hieroglyphic Being seems a perfect fit to invite on board for remix duties and his resultant remix of “Culture Clubs” is typically unique. We’re not entirely sure what studio techniques Moss employed to get the viscous stretched out qualities that pervade the oddly Caribbean sounding results, but it’s reminiscent of listening to a sped up loop of the recent Andy Stott LP whilst drowning in hallucinogenics and sitting through season one of Twin Peaks.

Tony Poland