Paxton Fettel – Not Bad For A Tenner
Like a handcrafted card you’d find in a rural arts and crafts shop, it’s evident that the Torquay based Greta Cottage Workshop label places much emphasis on delivering a homespun record, made with love and attention. The label and its music – particularly this release from Paxton Fettel – share a similar aesthetic to the cultish Weimar-based label Giegling, and main artist Dwig. An accompanying A4 insert childishly explains the sleeve’s stencilled art as, “done out in the garden this time, the shape is a sun. Or a psychedelic beetle,” whilst the music; cutesy arrangements of acoustic, classical and kitschy instrumentation, comes partnered with MPC-styled beats.
As well as brandishing an amusingly self deprecating title, Not Bad For A Tenner represents the debut 12” release from Fettel and the Danish producer uses the opportunity to display his sonic diversity to the fullest. Proceedings commence on “Mana” with some lonesome, Phillip Glass-like piano chord progression, which soon finds company in hip hop themed kicks sequenced at a leisurely house tempo. Plucky guitars and bass then supply “Mana” with a heart warming vamp, while kooky Rhodes stabs are paired with brushy drums that sound like they’ve been mic’d-up and recorded in empty and kitchen. After a playful flutter of filtered percussion, “Mana” opens up to a cool jazz climax of horns, orchestral melodies and soulful vocal samples.
Rain, café chatter and more minimalist piano introduces “They Go Unseen”, as a freeform loop is completed by a thuddy, downtempo kick, clacking percussion and additional keys that frequent the track like a narrator of a wildlife documentary. Contrary to a breezy A-side is Fettel’s straight-laced “Permafunk”, lifting in tempo, while managing to incorporate impromptu, almost bebop excursions of freeform piano jazz that resist the urge to break free from a linear four-four groove. What makes the fledging Copenhagen producer’s EP that little bit special, is not the limited vinyl pressing, but the labour of love that’s clearly gone into all things considered when achieving the final decorative product.
Bringing Not Bad For A Tenner to a composed and slightly melancholic end is the EP’s final track “Nothing Never”, which pairs bopping bass drums with an electronic bassline, resulting in a grungier, grittier tone compared to the rest of EP. This is offset by high-noted keys, dressed so beautifully in reverb that once they enter the mix, with the accompaniment of filtered Motown vocals, they instantly transform a blue “Nothing Never” into something celebratory.
A2. They Go Unseen
B2. Nothing Never