Plaid / Feorm Falorx / Warp 

Tied into a forthcoming graphic novel, Plaid release their latest long-player, Feorm Falorx. The 14th of the duo’s over 30 year career, and their 11th for Warp. No strangers to the world of comic books – having previously scored Michael Arias’ adaptation of seminal Japanese manga, Tekkonkinkreet* – the concept revolves around the fictitious planet, Falorx. This could be nod to the mythology surrounding Sun Ra and his interplanetary spaceways, but I think George Clinton’s leg-pulling “world-building” might be a better bet, since the album is shot through with a strong sense of fun, and a serious dose of funk. The press releases states that the record is also a conscious glance backward, whilst moving forward, with the pair rifling through their vinyl collections, and paying homage to the artists who originally influenced them. Bob James, Prince, and Jethro Tull, all get cited. 

Perspex provides an ambient, almost post-classical intro, where harp-like glissando mixes with cymbal shimmer. Racing molecules dance above bottom-end drones. Nightcrawler has some strange string thing, maybe a zither, riffing, rocking out. Return To Return is a serrated looped collage, of what once could have been Spanish guitar. Ethereal spectres swirl around C.A., and the closing, Wide I s is a slice of sinister slithering.

Several of the tracks are what I consider to be classic Plaid. Lithe, upbeat, uptempo, fidgeting, avant-electro. The deconstructed breaks a little Latin in flavour. Cuts characteristically created from complex, often urgent, counter-rhythms. Like 2, or 3, tunes playing simultaneously, somehow, miraculously, synergising to spin a gentle, pretty melody. Synthesizing something sort of organic from metallic, ping-ponging, tones. Crafting a calm busy with interlocking parts – like clockwork’s cogs and levers. Bowl for example, is robotic, but romantic. Its dark machine rumbling topped off with tropical keys and steel pans. Two of the tracks, Modenet and Tomason, are ripe with rave remembered. Barmy `90s abandon nostalgically revisited, softly reprised. Bleep muted, tempered by time. Wondergan is even more of a flashback. Set to a more uniform 4 / 4, its keys kinda salsa, in an almost T-Coy / Carino-esque fashion. Producing a piece of plugged-in jazz-funk that’s not too far removed from Brownswood’s STR4TA. 

*Tekkonkinkreet was the first manga that I ever read. My wife-to-be translated it for me – sticking little English post-its over the Japanese speech bubbles. Even without that, the experience – Taiyō Matsumoto’s story and art – kind of spoilt me for anything else. 

Tekkonkinkreet 1

Tekkonkinkreet 3

Tekkonkinkreet 2

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