Three years on from his debut album Suzi Ecto, JR Seaton is back in long player mode for Houndstooth. He’s been on a strong run of form in the past three years, dropping crucial singles on Nous, Dekmantel, The Trilogy Tapes (as Ondo Fudd) and, most recently linking up with Beatrice Dillon for the stunning Inkjet / Fluo 12” on Hessle Audio. As his infectious DJ sets attest, he’s not shy to embrace forthright club dynamics, but the value in Seaton’s music comes from a more esoteric place.
The smoky, home-listening electronica of Suzi Ecto demonstrated this perfectly, and Arpo picks up that mantle and furthers its purpose. There are regular moments of blissful musicality, from the delicate arps that cascade through the middle of Music Stand to his father’s mellifluous clarinet tones humming out in Arpo Sunk. It’s not simply a heavy-lidded blur though – Arpo wriggles and writhes with energy, with some of the more beat-oriented moments zipping by in two-minute flashes that keep the mind in suspense.
In Arpo’s rich detail and engaging narrative Seaton instinctively understands the role of the electronic album as a platform for sonic exploration. The bonus is that his adventurous spirit is offset by a fondness for warmth and intimacy, and it’s the very human heart at the core of the album that makes the trip all the more enjoyable.