Boomkat Product Review:
Aerobic mystic, Shackleton wields Beaugar Seck’s sabar drums beside a killer Mark Ernestus version on his first single since 2015, hailing a fine return to Honest Jon’s.
Brandishing the distinctively pitching, polyrhythmelodic tone of traditional Senegalese percussion in three original goes, Shackleton marks 18 years since his earliest works with a boomerang back to their brooding vibes and possessive function in the dance. 'The Majestic Yes' comes as part of the ongoing Transcriptions project, founded jointly between OUTER (organisers of Berlin Atonal) and Studio Labour. Where recent albums on his Woe To The Septic Heart! label and Cosmo Rhythmatic have been marked by their choice of vocalists, from Heathert Leigh to Vengeance Tenfold to Zimpel and Anika, ‘The Majestic Yes’ does away with human tongues in favour of pure drum, synth and harmonium voices.
In effect Shackleton mimics his hero Mark Ernestus’ work with Ndagga Rhythm Force, but with a shamanistic sort of UK free party drum circle-meets-psych rock tilt that weaves together generations of left-hand rave spirits. Washing stressed, detuned synth strings and Nico-esque harmonium over Beaugars Seck’s sabar drums, recorded in situ in Dakar, 2020, and underlined by signature, worm-charming subs, he projects fantasy dance manna ripe for trampling at secret rave glades or during solstice at Stonehenge.
Shackleton’s originals more than ever dial up comparison with Muslimgauze’s hand-played percussion and synth dubs, or the outernational parallax of 23 Skidoo, most powerfully in the hype-dance of ‘The Stick And Twist Mood’, while Mark Ernestus’ ‘Overwhelming Yes Dub’ is peppered with the kind of distant, lightening-crack detonations found in his Ndagga dubs for a tighter, more viscous distillation of Shackleton’s sprawling forms.