With just six 12”s to his name since his emergence on Mister Saturday Night in 2012, the more critical minds might question whether Anthony Naples is at the stage where he should be releasing a debut album. It seems Naples himself didn’t originally intend to present Body Pill in such a way, revealing in an interview it was recorded as a “mixtape sort of thing”. It was Kieran Hebden that persuaded him the music was strong enough to be presented as an album proper, and here we have Body Pill. Lasting less than 30 minutes from start to finish, Body Pill is somewhat refreshing in a current climate where many electronic artists think in grand scale when it comes to the long player. Hell, some 12”s last longer!!
With this in mind, it’s no surprise to find that Body Pill is not an album concerned with the dancefloor, despite the artist’s strong prior connection to it. Yes there are moments here you could claim to be techno, but it’s always a loose framework to which Naples applies his wistful sonic palette. Indeed, it feels like Naples has grasped the chance to fully indulge the esoteric urges previously documented on strange B-side outerludes for The Trilogy Tapes, giving them free reign which results in a mult-faceted album that confidently shows off his true range as a producer.
Opener “Ris” brings to mind an Aderall-fixated Johnny Jewel, easing out of the misty sonic ether into a luscious synth pop vignette redolent of Italians Do It Better in their pomp before swiftly dovetailing into “Abrazo”. Here, sampled strings brush up against snapping drums and bristling synths, and it’s one of the few moments on Body Pill that could fit within the context of a house or techno DJ set. The other would be “Refugio”, the track that heralded Hebden’s intentions to release this album on Text late last year. As the fifth track on an eight track LP it might seem obvious to call “Refugio” an album centre piece but it’s possibly the one production that will resonate most immediately with fans of Naples prior work.
The most interesting moment on Body Pill feels like a major miss-step the first time it careens into view. If American composer Angelo Badalamenti had a latter day flirtation with contemporary electronic music, à la Giorgio what’s his name who’s gone EDM, and revisited “Laura Palmer’s Theme” it might sound like “Used To Be”. Upon immediate listen, the track feels like a strange deviation from the subtle tones that Naples largely draws on throughout Body Pill, but one that doesn’t feel so incongruous the more the album eases its way into your memory.
Body Pill closes on “Miles”, less a finale than two different tracks entirely segueing into one another. The opening three minutes is Naples at his dusty best before fading out to be replaced by something a lot more contemplative in mood. It’s an appropriate tone to end on, as Body Pill leaves you questioning why more electronic artists don’t approach the album format with such a sense of adventure.
4. Way Stone
7. Used to Be