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Boomkat Product Review:
Calling your music futuristic is just asking for criticism really. We all know that it's very rare to find music that genuinely hints at the future, and most of it, even the newest selections from the bulging avant-garde scene are often rooted in times past. Paul Dickow (better known to music buyers as Strategy, or one third of Nudge, or a part of Fontanelle) in his role as founder and curator of the very lovely Community Library label is a man whose finger is pressed firmly on the pulse of 'new' music but also a man who clearly has a great understanding of the ghosts of music past. Here is a producer who seems equally at home exploring the warring worlds of experimental music, dub reggae, house, rave or techno and has spent his time in the last few years combining them in a haze of analogue warmth and soul. These epic explorations haven't always been entirely successful, but 'Future Rock' is where they have finally paid off, and with the help of some regular collaborators (Honey Owens aka Valet, David Chandler aka Solenoid to name but two) he has constructed his most accessible, warm and fuzzy record to date. This is Strategy gone ambient-drenched-pop, and it's all the better for it . We kick off with the humorously titled 'Can't Roll Back' which takes us into sunnier climes with a dub-tinged guitar part and some patented loooow down Strategy bass before building into a percussive monster. What electronic producers so often forget while re-wiring their boxes in some bedroom studio or another is that occasionally, just occasionally we like to get our triple-striped sneakers all sticky with old lager and spirit-laced cola, and having some well-produced genuinely enjoyable dance fodder is a blessing to say the very least. This sentiment is carried forward like a remainder in a maths problem into the album's title track (and highlight) 'Future Rock', which sounds something like Vladislav Delay with a funk stick being smacked around his head. Wherever and whenever it was that electronic music lost it's funk, Paul Dickow is here to put it back - and using an arsenal of analogue synthesizers and real instruments (wow, live electronic music - No way!) he manages to step up to the task admirably. Elsewhere the producer treats us to Summer dubs ('Running on Empty'), squelchy proto-hiphop ('Phantom Powered') and heady ambience ('Windswept', 'Sunfall') but at all times the album propels us and invigorates us, forcing us to take notice and realize that this is something to be enjoyed, not intellectualised. 'Future Rock' is a triumph for Dickow, and another crucial step for the Kranky label who are seemingly having one of their best years to date already. The future is bright - maybe there is something to look forward to after all?