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,
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.