While Delroy Edwards and Dean Blunt at first seem something of an odd couple, the former a Los Angeles native and founder of the L.I.E.S. collective, and the latter a London-based provocateur known for his outings as Babyfather and as one half of the now defunct Hyper Williams duo, in truth they’re a perfect fit. Both are renowned for their prolific and contrarian nature, as well as their delight in traversing genres, ranging from hiphop, through to lo-fi rock, RnB and folky experimentation.
The product of several months spent jamming in Los Angeles last year, the 19 tracks collected on this album ‘Desert Sessions’ see Edwards and Blunt employing retro drum machines and deliberately cheap sounding synths to craft instrumental tracks that often sound like sketches in progress or segues. There’s an overriding feeling of this being a low stakes affair for the duo that allows them to indulge their alternately playful and pensive impulses equally.
‘Audio Track 1’ calls to mind Anticon’s gritty, low bit-rate beats as tinny sounding hiphop kicks lurch against doomy analogue bass tones and plastic noodling synth leads, before ‘Audio Track 2’ ventures out into more New Wave-tinged atmospheres as icily pretty synth leads tumble against sparse punching kickdrums and wafts of moody bass ambience, in what’s easily one of the most pared back and crystalline minimal synth outings here.
Elsewhere, ‘Audio Track 5’ throws the emphasis back on lurching hiphop rhythms as fuzzed-out bass distortion grinds against graceful Tangerine Dream-esque synths, while ‘Audio Track 8’ almost recalls a slightly more funk-infused take on Bauhaus’ dark hued post-punk landscapes as cold synth pads wash over thick wiry bass runs and dramatic flashes of jagged guitar. While there’s an abiding sense of these tracks being sketches in progress more than anything else, it’s surprising just how cohesive ‘Desert Sessions’ feels as a complete listening experience.