Exclaim! - - REVIEWS -


On a lot of Aphex Twin’s pre­vi­ous EPs, the ma­te­rial be­sides the lead-off track has been fairly for­get­table: “73-yips” from the On EP isn’t go­ing down in his­tory, nor is “Pan­cake Lizard” from Don­key Rhubarb, or Win­dowlicker’s “Nan­nou.” This isn’t to say that they’re poor songs, but they boast very dif­fer­ent flavours from the re­lease’s ti­tle tracks, and are gen­er­ally up­staged by them. In this re­spect, Chee­tah breaks the pat­tern. The hugely dif­fer­ing styles be­tween tracks have been re­placed with a uni­form sound through­out, so that it feels like a real body of work; that’s the good news. Un­for­tu­nately, the rea­son that noth­ing is over­shad­owed on Chee­tah is be­cause there’s not much that casts a strong shadow. “CIRKLON 1” is a touch meatier than “3,” and bonus track “2X202-ST5” has an acid-tinged bass line that leaves a last­ing im­pres­sion (even if it’s too lit­tle, too late), but as a whole, Chee­tah mostly plods past un­no­ticed. Aphex Twin has made a good move here by giv­ing a sim­i­lar feel through­out the EP, but in­stead of hav­ing a few so-so tracks alien­ated by a stand­out one, the en­tire re­lease ends up be­ing fine but un­re­mark­able, es­pe­cially when pit­ted against the be­he­moths of his back cat­a­logue. Fans of Aphex Twin’s drowsier ma­te­rial will find plenty of joy in Chee­tah, but even they might find it fad­ing into the back­ground. (Warp, warp.net) DARYL KEAT­ING the well-re­ceived sin­gle “Haunted Par­adise,” bring­ing to mind fel­low dark-night-of-the-soul Canucks like the Weeknd and dvsn and prov­ing that male Cana­dian R&B hasn’t yet hit peak oil. But Flem­ing’s de­but LP, named af­ter his year-old sin­gle, finds the young Mon­trealer re­fus­ing to lean on the trail al­ready blazed for him; the 11-track al­bum is heavy on the freaky, but not in the way you’d ex­pect. On tracks like “Per­ma­nent Smile” and “Noth­ing Else,” Flem­ing al­lows left-field rhythms and alien sounds to in­fil­trate his smooth, tem­pered de­liv­ery. On “Glow in the Dark” and “Hold­ing On,” Black At­lass uti­lizes a sim­ple acous­tic gui­tar strum, guid­ing each song along, while “Sum­mer Time” comes off ex­ceed­ingly sparse and ex­per­i­men­tal, show­ing just how many tools Flem­ing has up his sleeve. Clos­ing track “Exit,” with its Tracy Chap­man-style vo­cal qua­ver, Scott Walker at­mos­phere and Radiohead-

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