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28 February 2010

Blues Control - 'Puff' (Woodsist)

Hazy, murky tape ambience with thick layers of keyboard and slowly repeating melodies. The sensation of a music box being run over by a steamroller. And heavy, thick guitar strings reverberating with distortion, delay and echo, chopping through the stasis like a bloody sledgehammer. Puff is five compositions, built, no-doubt, from improvisations; it's a sound-world constructed with blind precision. Rhythms build from tape loops, felt in the distance as the tracks march toward Valhalla. I guess I'm not describing anything too groundbreaking given the utter glut of these practitioners in the past few years, but Puff is truly a high-water mark the whole 'movement'. And movement indeed, for Russ and Lea are masters of brownian motion. This is one to enjoy loud, or with headphones on, because it's so nice to sink into. The five tracks blend into each other and have pretty similar approaches anyway, giving the album and overall thematic cohesion, but the final song, 'Call Collect' is fucking amazing. It's wispy; simultaneously raindrops and black magic, tip-toeing around the stereo field. At times this could pass for some detached German electronica; it's music that somehow trasncends time, as it could have been recorded 30 years ago or 30 years from now. These two used to have another band called Watersports that was similarly amazing at the way they constructed sound. Maybe Watersports just renamed themselves, though Blues Control have less of a focus on environmental recordings so maybe it's a distinctly different project with the same lineup. Regardless of their moniker, I think these two are incredibly underrated, and I think Puff is one of those records that people will still be listening to in 15-20 years. Which is more permanence that most of us could ever hope for.

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