It’s been five years since Brighton-based electronic producer Slugabed (real name Gregory Feldwick) dropped his debut album ‘Time ‘Team’ on Ninja Tune, but in the time since he’s hardly been idle, releasing a slew of 12” releases on his own Activia Benz label over the last few years. While ‘Time Team’ saw Feldwick taking influence from juke, grime and dubstep however, this second album ‘Inherit The Earth’ (his first for Anticon), is a considerable more dense and downbeat-oriented collection.
Coming in at a comparatively short 45 minutes in length, it’s also packed with more ideas than many other producers manage over a far larger canvas. ‘Stupid Earth’ opens proceedings with a dreamlike wander out into gauzy faded synth melodies, radio samples and smoky jazz horns that sees metallic percussive rhythms locking into place as the electronics build into a surging wall of sound, only for things to shift gears down into a clicking, trap-based section as the horns swell back up towards the forefront.
If it’s a suitably nocturnal and crepuscular opening, first single ‘Infinite Wave’ opts for more blissful and wide-eyed atmospherics as shimmering synth arpeggios wander back and forth against dewy, soulful keys, only for waspy distorted analogue synths to suddenly rear up from the depths alongside crunching hiphop beats and vast bass drops, the sampled vocal fragments adding a gentle edge, before everything drops down into crunked-out wobbling sub-bass and jittery, cold electronics.
Elsewhere, ‘Gold’ sees Hairy Hands and Peter Lyons contributing soul-pop vocal harmonies to a glittering backdrop of clanking percussive beats, digitally manipulated flutes and crushed-sounding bass wobbles that calls to mind the psychedelia-soul rush of Flying Lotus’ more recent work such as ‘You’re Dead!’, the entire track seemingly glowing with a rootsy warmth even as the contorted electronics grow more forbidding.
‘Time 2 Let It Go’ meanwhile meanwhile offers up what’s arguably this album’s most spectacular space-funk highlight, as blocky gamecore synths wobble against fat squelching analogue synth riffs and smoothed-out hiphop kicks, the noodling clavinets adding just the right dripping edge, shortly before the sound of a cassette being rewound blocks out everything else. There’s so much detail packed into ‘Inherit The Earth’ that it’s going to take time and a good pair of headphones to dive into its depths properly.