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Al Tourettes – Swan’s Sketch review

With but a select few releases to his name, you get the feeling Al Tourettes is still only just shedding light on what he has to offer musically. This EP for the newly invigorated BaseLogic label (from the team behind the mighty Bloc Weekender) offers up four fresh cuts of Al’s mutant electro-funk, and it’s instantly clear that his sound could dart off in any number of directions in the near future.

As it happens, the title track from the EP ekes a nervous intro out over a haunting melodic refrain before allowing the rubber band bass to clear room for a gnarly yet understated break-step beat. The devil is in the details, so they say, and on “Swan’s Sketch” the cumulative elements all feed into the tension that the melodics spell out. It’s certainly not a direct track, swerving convenient dancefloor devices while all the time dangling the carrots of build-ups and breakdowns before your ears. Rather than frustrating, Al’s holding back on obvious drops only serves to increase the drama so heavily sewn into the track.

“Universed” makes things a touch more straightforward, employing a classic synth approach that wouldn’t feel out of place on an Underground Resistance record, while the beat snaps and pounds for maximum physical response. This is no electro by numbers mind you, as a myriad of textures and trinkets buzz around the core elements of the track, coming to the fore in the wide-open space of the breakdown.

Once again taking the direct approach, “Badger” keeps things a little restrained – relatively speaking – as an insanely catchy bass line and crisp-as-you-like snare provide the focus. Of all the tracks on the record, it’s the one most likely to worm its way into the bags of electro minded spinners, but lest we forget this is still Al Tourettes, and a hefty dose of experimentalism comes in from way out west to spice up proceedings as the track evolves.

Having been somewhat off the radar for a while, it’s good to see Datasette back in action to offer up a remix of “Swan’s Sketch”. While his clean and fulsome production ways are still intact, his groove has somewhat staggered itself, as the beat strafes uncontrollably, leaving you to try and play catch up. It’s clear the BaseLogic team are back to champion the sounds of future-minded electro, so on the strength of this EP we should be in for a slew of bass-heavy vitality that’ll teach the juke-inspired ghetto tech heads of 2011 a thing or two.

Oli Warwick