Good Block return after a 2 year vinyl hiatus. Following up on their 2019 debut, 4 Corners – which still has folks fighting over copies. Richard Foe and Andy Watson, here enlisting some assistance from Drumtalk, on the quartet of cuts that make up Aquaculture. Tracks that run from down to mid-tempo – quality cinematic chill-out and / or warm-up wonders. The overall vibe is heavily influenced by the past productions of Trevor Horn`s ZTT, plus those coming out of Island`s Compass Point. The shadows of both Art Of Noise and Wally Badarou loom large. GB authentically update that sound. Goodness knows what gear they’ve got, that mimics an impossibly expensive Fairlight, or the then state-of-the-art Synclavier. Treated vocals and sampled chants colour the loose computerized tropics throughout. Lending the electronics, of say Strato, a very afro / cosmic edge. Found Asian and African elements mix in with collected hand percussion and marimba melodies, while sequences and sampled sighs spin backward. The title track features keys with oriental timbres, a la Japan’s Tin Drum, and thunder-thumbed, slapped bass sections. Ryuichi Sakamoto`s dalliances with dance, such as Shogunade, are also a reference, as are the Japanese maestro`s collaborations with contemporary, Thomas Dolby. The giddy go-go of The Garden, however, is the one for me. Where, using the same sonic palette, happy harmonies are hammered out over a bass heavy beat. Moving with a definite old school balearic chug / mooch.
Good Block also lend a helping hand to the latest reissue on Heels & Souls. The duo remixing the tune Amazonia. The 1993 original plants programmed pan pipes in a lush, aural, landscape located somewhere between William Orbit`s best trippy squiggles and the “ambient pop” of Deep Forest. Complete with murmuring maiden, and the cries of assorted exotic fauna. Richard and Andy add fresh keys and a cool chant. Set the birdsong stepping, but not quite skanking, to a brand new bogle-esque beat. On the flip of the 12 you’ll find 2 mixes of Steal It An` Deal It – a drum-machined slice of late `80s sample-delia. Its bursts of muscular bass had me reaching for 400 Blow`s Pressure, while the Middle-Eastern calls to prayer echo Code 61`s classic Drop The Deal.