DAM MANTLE //

BROTHERS FOWL (Notown Records)

18/20

Seams. Tropics. Slugabed. Ital. Jacques Greene. These artists have little in common musically. But they are all relative newcomers, and they all make incredible, inventive and intelligent electronic music across a range of overlapping genres. It’s now become safe to add Dam Mantle’s name to this list. After a run of excellent singles (and having developed a live show that is a joy to behold), he has now produced an album dripping with creativity and sprinkled with the production gold dust that more established names like Gold Panda are rightly renown for.

After a slightly slow start, Lifting introduces a hazy, low-slung lollop through a panorama of stunted-soul samples, weirdly reminiscent of Juan McClean’s Happy House (if instead of ripping off the Human League it had come out like a deep-house reworking of Bjork). Dam Mantle has mastered the jazz-inflected broken beat that Four Tet made his own on earlier albums, and the playful use of soul-aesthetics that early Ninja Tune artists like Bonobo perfected.

The title track adheres most closely to the sound – a drip feed of melody and rhythm, where either component part can be exchanged with the other – that Dam Mantle is (so far) most associated with. Pirouetting, disembodied vocal gasps provide the backdrop for intricate, scatter-shot percussion. Blueberry, meanwhile, introduces a soft, synth sub that snakes its way along, echoing the sensual/sinister vibes of a Maurice Fulton production. And like all the best and most inventive work, it sounds both brand new and deeply inscribed with its influences.

Deep, restless and soulful, Brothers Fowl is yet another reason to be excited about the homegrown electronic music scene right about now. An exceptional debut from an artist evidently overflowing with ideas.

 

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Words: Adam Corner

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