Somnambule - Writing About Music

FatCat ~ 9-16 Split Series

This release gathers together a bunch of FatCat’s numbered series of 12” releases whose alternate sides are allotted to different artists perhaps in a spirit of compare and contrast. I’m never quite sure how assiduous or even occasional purchasers of the original releases feel about these compilations. The same applies to those limited/numbered releases which always get reissued.

With a name like ‘Duplo_Remote’ and a track title like ‘Furry Bicycle’ it seems pretty inevitable that you’re going to encounter something nasty and juvenile on which you might bruise yourself if you’re not careful... and so it is. It’s mercifully short and really rather enjoyable. Dat Politics’s contribution is all scratches and urgent breaks that appear to be breaking apart on digital re-entry to planet hiphop. It’s reminiscent of Mad Professor’s contribution to the Virgin Macro-Dub Infection Compilation and all the better for it. Christoph De Babalon gifts the listener with a rather saucy title: ‘Cum On (Feel This)’. Unfortunately instead of a prime jungle cut we get a rather leathery old piece of drill’n’bass. Given the sexual connotation of the title I’d have expected something with a little more booty, unfortunately in its absence it’s all too tempting to cry off with a headache.

Com.A’s ‘Raider’ is an enjoyable hyperdigitalactiveromp that refuses to say please or thank you, instead opting for the ‘punch you in the ribs and grab the food out of your hand’ approach. By the sixth track - Kid 606 – I’m beginning to wonder why so much post-glitch music is about the de(con)struction of existing sonic matter rather than the creation of new sounds. At which point of course the next track by Process takes a left turn and opts for a rather elegant take on the stripped-down dynamics of Detroit techno transposed into an episodic ambient template. Lovely. Fennesz delivers a characteristically contemplative piece strummed out on emolliated guitar.

And that’s only half of this compilation: the other half features excellent tracks by Matmos, Main, David Grubbs, Alejandro and Aeron, Ultra-Red, Motion, QT? and Anna Planeta. As a sampler of divers possibilities this compilation is a much more immature, noisy and annoying beast than FatCat’s higher profile Branches and Routes set last year. All power to its pointy elbow.
Colin Buttimer
March 2004
Published by the BBC