Betamax Vs. Clive Bell / Byrd Out

This cross-generational meeting / melding of minds – a telepathic tussle of father and son – starts out all “jaunty”, masquerading as jazz. A rampage of racing rhythms and rude electronics. Drums rolling and crashing like a raging river, Betamax hitting that swing with a huge John Bonham-like heft. Its tumbling tropical timpani moving with a highly organic flow. Bottom end buzzing, while a flute takes spiritual flight. Reeds rushing, plugged-in patches going like the clappers, like gamelan gongs. Together tailoring temple trance for the transcendental raver. 

These musical mantras are undoubtedly rooted in “improv” – something that the name Clive Bell is synonymous with – but the collection quickly reveals its dark, dynamic, dub heart. The slower, head-nodding, hypnotic moments, showered in reverb, echoed thunder cracks. Organ mimicking a melodica, Augustus Pablo`s Far East Sound, before dissolving into psychedelic shimmer. A reflection perhaps of Clive`s over two decade-long recording, and performing, relationship with John Wardle / Jah Wobble. 

Along with the dub, theres the funk. The Cylinder, for example, floats serene shakuhachi over a tuff, tuff, break. The battery, clean, crisp, and sharp, like DJ Krush cutting up a school of Kodo masters. The results recalling the rarer than rare Japanese groove of Minoru Muraoka`s The Positive And The Negative. Jack It carries itself on a kinda lop-sided cumbia lilt. A slo-mo Liquid Liquid lick. Ghost Peelers is similarly packed with percussive fills. Its heavy psyche rattle further flavoured by low frequency kosmische coils, synthesized curls of hookah smoke. Bold bass undulations, shuffling shakers, the serious skanking syncopation of Sub-Vision receives a final remix. Break Mode setting its tape rewinds and shape-shifting sine waves to a slamming, semi-industrial, ON-U-esque beat.

Betamax Vs. Clive Bell is released today, by Byrd Out.

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