Shape Worship: Observances (Exotic Pylon)
CD / DL / LP
Observances is the first official release under the Shape Worship banner by Ed Gillet & this album, though not perfect, should please fans of Four Tet & Burial.
Ed Gillet’s interest in “the creative use of repetition, open collaboration, the enjoyments of mistakes and sub-bass” may sound hyperbolic but in truth, this perfectly encapsulates the record.
Opener Mzugu kicks the record off with a distinct eye on the dance floor. Rolling LFOs, glistening chimes, garage like two-step rhythms, and an atmospheric layering of sound give the track a nice blend of acid house feel with modern sounds.
Concentration takes us even further back with its intro reminiscent of early Vince Clarke synth pop. The tune then introduces it’s off-kilter rhythm which brings the tune bang up to date. Distant female vocals add a beauty to the quite dense track but the tune feels a bit too stuck between the two worlds of past and present to really grab the attention. Maybe a grower..
Seaglass is pure blissed out ambience with added drone. Treat this as a pallet cleanser for what is to come.
Air White Smoke Signal is the first truly great track on the record. No real structure which is needed to grab a dance floor, this is head music, and one that fans of Thom Yorke’s current solo and Atoms For Peace work should really check out. It even sounds like Yorke on the indecipherable vocals.
Quilt then starts gently with little peaks and troughs of instrumentation. It’s only at nearly two minutes in does the bass introduce itself and when it does it’s not going anywhere in a hurray. Modulators are played with and the track has a nice D&B Hospital Records vibe. This is not peak-time dancing music, this is for the wind down/blissed out, on last legs, loving thy neighbour part of the night/morning. A dark outro adds menace to proceedings.
Last track Lavender has one of the nicest intros I’ve heard in a while before descending into cheap computer sounding effects and way to much layering of sounding making for a messy feel. It does, however, have an amazing section from four minutes in to the end that would have served better as a beginning and the complete basis for the whole track.
Observances may be a mixed bag but it contains enough highlights to warrant many a listen. The album feels a bit too disjointed as a whole, but in tracks like Quilt and Air White Smoke Signal, there is real triumph. Fans of Future Bass, Burial, and Four Tet should give it a listen. People looking for something to get them in the mood before a night out should avoid.
All words by Simon Tucker. You can read more by Simon on LTW here.