Boomkat Product Review:
Bristol's William Yates (aka memotone) splices electro-jazz fusion, environmental ambience and Japanese city pop with expertly engineered dubwise beats on "Clever Dog".
There's no getting away from the fact that "Clever Dog" is a gleefully eccentric album. Yates has already built up a good reputation with albums for Black Acre and Diskotopia, as well as his own Memorecs imprint, but this album feels like a stylistic step forward. His production techniques are instantly impressive, and peaceful Kankyō Ongaku sounds are somehow blended to sound right at home next to hiccuping bass womps and weirdo jazz fusion belches. On 'The Bridge and The Bend' you'd be forgiven for assuming you were hearing a Reichian approximation of Hiroshi Yoshimura or even Midori Takada (that marimba!), but 'Leagues Under' is more like a quirked out ~Scape dub reaction to Japanese city pop or Orientalized exotica.
As "Clever Dog" bounds forward, more genres are chewed up and spat out like tobacco: deranged post-punk on 'Lorry Driver' and druggy cosmic disco on 'Sporeprint', or vapor-damaged West Coast beat scene sounds on 'Bloose'. At its best, the album sounds like listening to a scientifically distilled mixtape, held together by a few key stylistic constants: Yates' love of woodwind, for example, and his unmistakably Bristolian control of the low end.