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fbc fabric & reindeer - It's Not Who You Know, It's Whom You Know


Review: Jack Foley

DESCRIBED as 'a grammatically correct, anti-corporate LP' from Leftfield, sequencer mogul, FBC Fabric and South London scribesman, Reindeer, It's Not Who You Know, It's Whom You Know is a richly rewarding affair that has already attracted widespread praise in industry circles.

Ninja Tunes' Bonobo, for instance, says of the album: "This is just great. Some of the best production I've heard in years."

It's easy to see why. The duo take a distinctly independent approach to hip-hop, creating cinematic but melancholy beats around some telling raps from Reindeer.

Not everything works, of course, but the album contains more than its fair share of excellent moments that really should succeed in locking you into the musical world this duo have created.

Of the highlights, Soulsuck (a former EP) gets things rolling in sublime fashion, featuring a rolling beat, some haunting keyboards and vocals from Reindeer that are designed as an observation on the current state of the world.

It sets the template in fine fashion and grows on you the more times you hear it (I would love to hear just an instrumental version, though).

A sample of a man screaming out 'let me go' marks the arrival of Down The Sides, another deeply atmospheric track that features some epic, almost ambient keyboards that wouldn't sound out of place on the soundtrack to a Michael Mann movie.

While a neat guitar riff is introduced into the mix on Passenger, which again features some more hard-hitting verbals from Reindeer.

The melancholy organs are employed again on Rub The Calm One, evoking slight but fond memories of the work of New York DJ, Blockhead, while the laiback style of Mask of Sanity, with its sinister guitar riffs and sly beat, is a really crisp listen (and one that could easily find its way into the mainstream).

The absolute highlight, though, and the clincher (for me), is the solemn beauty that represents The Only Dance I Can Do, a quietly affecting track featuring one of the album's best beats, some more of that delicious, melancholy piano, a more low-key rap than usual from Reindeer and some delightful strings.

It's a track that just gets right inside your head and inhabits it for a while, refusing to let go.

Given the limited edition nature of this release, it's fair to say it'll be tricky to track down, but for anyone willing to make the extra effort to do so, its rewards are plenty.

It's not necessarily whom you know that provide the best musical treats of the year, but those you should force yourself into discovering.

Editor's note: Initially, the album is available in a very limited edition CD format, with hand-made fabric sleeve, and washing and label instructions containing the track listing and other info.

Shortly to follow will be the first of two parts on vinyl. Possibly in a fabric sleeve as well.

 

Track listing:
1. The Lighting of the Lamps
2. Soulsuck
3. Down The Sides
4. Passenger
5. Rub The Calm One
6. Sit & Wait
7. Extended Placement
8. Fall Asleep and Dream of Our Childhood's
9. Mask of Sanity
10. All I See
11. The Only Dance I Can Do
12. Shake The Hand of the Unsuspecting Victim
13. Please Call Stella
14. And Then John Peel Died

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