- Luke Solomon’s been at it for a while now, so it’s good to know that he’s neither burnt out nor fading away: The Difference Engine is without a doubt one of 2008’s more interesting electronic albums (so far), and ‘Robots’, the A of this EP, is one of its standout tracks.
At first ‘Robots’ might give you light lashings of ‘Creeps’ with its rising bassline, but then things take a turn for the quirk as a chorus of resonator-rinsed electronic crickets begins to chirp along. Underneath all this is the most wonderful of samples – believe it or not, it’s Jeff Buckley, from ‘Last Goodbye’. His voice glides in from beyond the grave on an underbed of guitar snippets lifted from the same arrangement. This is Difference Engine Solomon at its best, a proper sound collage made from accreted layers of cool auditory artefacts and kooky sonic bric-a-brac.
The album-version of ‘Spirits’ has a pretty flute loop front and centre, ornamented by some well-bred (clipped, polite) bongos, which hold hands with a dry-mouthed little synth and some other keyboard flourishes in order to garnish the flute lead.
That’s the original, but on the EP here you get Prins going the Full Pupp on it, and it’s a typically Thomas discoid bongo-house epic that’s 25% bigger, wetter and (yes) whooshier than the original. One for sweaty, sweaty floors, it’s almost fantastic, but it’s let down by a build that’s much better and more exciting than the anticlimactic break it becomes, before eventually petering out around the tenth minute.
Ajello’s mix of ‘People, Places, Thoughts and Faces’ adds dashes of reverb to the percussion and dabs of delay to Solomon’s found sounds, as well as a gulping acid-y bassline and a subtly acid-house piano. It sounds a wee bit too eclectic, but overall it amounts to a respectable enough slab of bongo-house replete with space-disco leanings.
In sum, an easily decent set of reworks that would appeal to Pupp-lovin’ disco kids, cheek-by-jowl with one of the year’s more interesting singles.
B Spirits (Prins Thomas Disko-Tek Miks)
(Digital only) People, Places, Thoughts and Faces (Ajello mix)