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Reviews

Soccer96
Rewind Danijela Bočev , May 29th, 2018 07:24

An album of cosmic vision and killer execution

Dan Leavers (aka Danalogue) and Max Hallet (aka Betamax), are super busy on the newly revitalised London jazz scene. Leavers has produced Snapped Ankles, Alabaster DePlume and Ibibio Sound Machine; Hallet, a member of Super Best Friends Club and Hot Head Show, has played drums for Boredoms, Melt Yourself Down and Sons of Kemet. Together they are two-thirds of The Comet is Coming, alongside Shabaka Hutchings. That band channels more energetic and visceral drives, while Soccer96 brings contemplative electronica infused with vitality, audacity and a plurality of ideas and perspectives. It’s a highly intoxicating blend of cosmic jazz, psych synth and organic electronica, giving nods to a dazzling diversity of influences - Sun Ra, 90s Warp artists, the jazz-minded post-rock of Tortoise, the improv spirit-ronica of Szun Waves, the poppy psychedelia of Grumbling Fur, the synth explorations of Forma, the intuitive psychedelia of Goat, and (yes) more.

Leavers behind his analogue synths and Hallet on the drums are two buddies trying to figure out life, slammin’ jammin’ together. On Rewind, a collection of old reel-to-reel recordings, lost and found aural snapshots of their former selves, live mixed on a vintage Alice desk, they find themselves on a dazzling voyage of spectral analogue soundscapes and deeply invigorating polyrhythms.

The trippy, slowed-down groove of ‘Button Basher’, the hypnotic dub-drenched dirge of ‘The Scribe’ or the playful synth-drum majesty of ‘The Future’ stretch, liquify and deconstruct time and space. ‘The Hermit’s Lantern’ and ‘Crush’ bring supersonic energetic infusion into the enchanted universe of Rewind. They dig deep into the analogue philosophy of the sound without being stuck in nostalgia loop like some vintage synthsploitation fetishists. “We believe in using music as a tool to elevate our consciousness,” they said recently, and they never shy away from big themes, big sounds, big questions.

There are parallels with the hazy nostalgia of Boards of Canada, especially on the gorgeous ‘Harmonius Monk’, the unnervingly alien ‘Wake’ and their interlude tracks (‘Alice’, ‘String Theory’). But what Soccer96 truly excel in is erasing the boundaries between personal and universal, subjective and objective, micro and macro, time and timelessness. “Time flows in circles,” goes the mantra on their dub-heavy analogue lullaby ‘Time flows’; it reveals Soccer96’s thinking, the circular and dynamic logic behind their sonic puzzles, as they explore time and the nature of memory from a deeply esoteric base. They’re demonstrating what Terence McKenna once said: “There is not the Newtonian universe, deployed throughout the parsecs and kiliocosms of physical space, and the interior mental universe. They are the same thing.”

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