Slugabed – Moonrider EP (Ninja Tune/Inertia)

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The name Slugabed generally conjures up adjectives such as; huge, monstrous and wonky. The Moonbeam rider EP is no exception. However this is not to say that the EP lacks depth and diversity. This is the young producers second release on Ninja Tune, it teems with the usual Slugabed synthesis and his instantly recognisable production style.

The opening track ‘Moonbeam rider’ is wonky, well balanced and has beautifully executed synthesiser phrases, which characterise Slugabeds style.
‘Hex flex’ begins with obviously poxy sustained strings, and has a trance like feel. The introduction leads in a false direction, before heavy bass line drops with some cliche rhythm sounds and cheesy lead. This is one of the weaker tracks of the album, Slugabed seems to be pushing his stylistic limits here. Although this track is not a complete failure, there are some nice sound effects and the production is again very good. It is also is intoxicatingly enjoyable forgiving its limitations.

The strongest track of the album is ‘My sense of smell comes and goes’. It is a triumph, where the motive emerges out of squelchy sound design, and 8 bit infused ethereal moments. The synthesis sound design is of the highest quality, proving that Slugabed is a master of his craft. The phrasing is interesting and keeps the listener engaged thought out the track.
Slugabed the moves the EP into a strange warblely post garage world with ‘Tomorrow morning’. Showing that he is able to straddle multiple genres. This track is highly enjoyable, with interesting field recordings that add new textures to the piece. A brittle arpeggio over the top of the mix stops this track from becoming too dark and the contrast is satisfying. Although I feel that the arpeggio sound is a little cheesy, however Slugabed does not seem to shy away from a bit of cheese.

James Horsfall

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About Author

Sound designer and composer James Horsfall is currently completing his degree in Music at the Australian Institute of Music. Investigating acousmatic and electro-acoustic works.

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