- Laurie Osborne has long been one of UK dance music's most vital figures. His influence is usually channeled through others, though, whether that meant running Skull Disco with Shackleton or collaborating on productions with a large number of peers (Peverelist, Komon and Geiom, to name a few). His long-awaited debut solo EP felt anticlimactic in 2013, presenting three complacent house tracks that didn't reflect his legacy. Two years later, he returns on Tempa with an EP that is undoubtedly the weirdest thing the dubstep outpost has ever put its name on. More importantly, it highlights Osborne's peculiar dark side better than anything he's released in the past few years.
Avebury is named for a neolithic monument in England's Southwest. The EP is a document of Osborne's visit there, inspired by Julian Cope's The Modern Antiquarian, and, in its own way, it adds to a rich history of occult British folk music obsessed with the isle's prehistory. At first pass, "Avebury" is dense and gradual, miles removed from the glossy house of Osborne's recent work. There's a garage heartbeat at the centre of it, but it moves with a lava flow sensibility that smacks of other English dreamers like Luke Abbott or Nathan Fake. Osborne's crystalline synth work adds gritty texture to the slow creep. Add in field recordings and a drum circle from the West Kennet burial chamber, and it's one of Appleblim's most singular pieces of music.
The flipside holds two beatless tracks. "Auburn Blaze" is a nice piece of ambient music, with a motif that feels blurry and distant. "Wandered" taps into the same well of genius as the title track. More texture than music, it's an engrossing 10 minutes that puts the spotlight on Osborne's field recording techniques, evoking images of haunted ruins and past worlds as discrete chunks of melody occasionally pass by. It's a reminder that Osborne isn't only a great DJ and solid club producer, but also a forward-thinking artist with an experimental streak. Skull Disco might be a distant memory, but Avebury points to an exciting new epoch for Appleblim.
B1 Auburn Blaze