- We're not sure how they did it (roses? chocolate? sour diesel?), but the minds at International Feel managed to sign up Mr. Harvey Bassett for a proposed string of three releases. For Harv watchers, this is no small event. Despite keeping up a relentless DJing schedule, the man's not put anything on wax under his own name for ten years or so. Clearly, though, Harvey left his heart in left field. Both tracks on this first 12-inch emanate an oddball inventiveness, an investment in risk and surprise, and that innate, unpredictable sense of what works that's followed him since the days of Tonka Hi-Fi two decades ago.
For someone whose reputation has been largely built around weirdo disco and cosmic out-there beats, the opening beats of "Gunship" might seem unexpected. (Wait, is Harvey doing a minimal track?) But before you know it, that spindly little Germanic groove with floating Kompakty blips gets its wig split by a violent burst of looped guitar feedback, a clownish, near-delirious rupture that absconds from the scene leaving a speedy disco vibe and a girl celebrating "Biiiiiiigggg guns!" Disco, minimal and house elements continue to deftly dart around one another, opening and closing little portals to other worlds, the vocal tossed in like an Arthur Russell absurdity, the Hendrix guitar full of sudden flaunt and wail. This is what innovation sounds like: You've never heard it before, but it makes sense right away.
This counts double for "Little Boots," the deeply blunted Balearic voyage on the flip which arguably steals the show. Harvey's shown his mastery of a number of different styles, but as far as psychedelic beach jams are concerned, there are few who can touch him. This is partly because he can cobble together a trippy chill-out track without invoking a number of commonplace elements, like mellow chord changes or funky smoothness. "Little Boots" instead relies on a dub groove and a phased-out hi-hat working double-time, Southern rap-style, backing up even more guitar-shredding and some echoey female toasting. Simultaneously chilled-out, expansive and edgy, the track foregrounds a sense of contemplative exploration. No wonder the girl keeps repeating "Locus Solus," the "lonely place" here feels like some sunbaked Mediterranean island that Harvey's steering the gunship towards, with a hairy grin and a captain's hat.
B Little Boots