New York's Matador Records has long been known for its incredibly high quality indie rock releases, and they've got some of the biggest names in the business on their roster to support my claim: Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Liz Phair, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Guided By Voices... and the list goes on. But the label's never had a big selection of electronic music, until now.
Lately, Matador's offerings have been growing more diverse. And now that experimental electronic music and drum-n-bass are gaining more of a following in the United States, it seems like a good time to start picking up more bands in those genres. So far, Matador's released exceptional shit by Boards of Canada and Burger/Ink, and now they've got Berlin's Pole and Manchester's Dylan Nathan, the man behind the Jega moniker, in on the fun.
Spectrum was co-released with Planet µ Records, a label run by drill-n-bass wiz Mike Paradinas (aka µ-ziq). Incedentally, you can really hear µ-ziq's influence seeping through. Certainly, Jega's sound is colder than µ-ziq's, but no less hypnotic. Nathan utilizes everything from hard- assed hip-hop beats to video game sound effects to sequenced modem line noise, and his sound is distinctly electronic-- there's rarely an element of humanity on the record, and when there is, it's tweaked and toyed with until it seems strangely computer-generated.
Of course, Spectrum has more things going for it than just its quirky, machinistic edge. Often, there's at least a brief moment, if not an entire track, where Jega loses you in the rhythm before veering off in a totally whacked direction. He'll alter the time signitures and bpms, or just plain slow shit down, creating a bizarre zero- gravity effect. It's that particular trait that makes this record not only interesting, but actually fun to listen to-- especially with the headphones plugged in.
The things that Spectrum sports that most electronic records lack are both a sense of direction, and an assload of diversity. This record goes from theme music for head-on collisions and doberman attacks to smooth and spacey lite-FM musik, all without losing its sense of cohesiveness. Sure, the guy's no Amon Tobin or Clifford Gilberto, but he's not trying to be. See, Dylan Nathan's got his own thing going, and if you're not into it, well, there's always Belle and Sebastian.
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