Review: Jack Foley
THE title may be Konfusion (with a K) but there is nothing
confused about the second album from Polish duo, Skalpel, which
builds successfully upon the smooth leftfield style of their self-titled
The duo, who were discovered by the tireless DJ Vadim and promptly
brought into the Ninja Tune fraternity, specialise in seductive
leftfield beats and easygoing nu-wave jazz.
Equally adept at playing to the dance scene as they are at providing
sombre and contemplative music, Skalpel deeply impressed with
the diversity of their debut.
Konfusion founds them expanding their sound into a darker,
deeper, sub-David Holmes territory that gets to fully explore
the roots of Eastern European jazz and breaks while keeping things
suitably hip for the world-wide listening brigade.
By their own admission, Skalpel aim to 'resurrect the dusty and
smoky spirit of 60s and 70s Polish jazz and then reimagine it
for 21st century audiophiles'.
The result is something distinctly underground in tone and vibe
that provides the perfect antidote to the modern dance scene for
jazzers, beat heads and strong cigarette smokers - you can virtually
imagine yourself sat in some underground terrain while nodding
along to the music appreciatively.
Highlights include the bass-driven Long Distance Call,
which hints at the Holmes of Ocean's
12, the funky beats and wah-trumpet stabs of Test Drive
and the Lalo Schiffrin retro style of title track, Konfusion,
which also features some of the funkiest drumming on the long-player.
If other tracks struggle to reach the cool vibe surrounding the
album's very best tracks, there is still plenty to admire, not
least in its laidback, easygoing vibe which almost always gives
rise to some appreciative head nodding in some way.
It's another successful release for the Ninja Tune label that
ought to put Skalpel on the world-wide map.
Editor's note: The CD is also available with
a bonus special disc that features remixes of tracks from the
duo's eponymously titled debut rendered anew by the likes of Quantic,
Dr Rubberfunk and Amalgamation of Soundz.
Related review: Skalpel's