I’m feeling a little tougher this evening than I did after last weeks (Thursday) fartlek run so I’m going to plow on with my scheduled 60 minute easy “mixed bag” spin to boot. I’ll take that as a positive sign that ‘ol Thunder n’ Lightning are adopting to the new aggressive routine nicely.
First things first. ‘Spring Heel Jack‘ is an English electronic music duo, consisting of John Coxon and Ashley Wales formed in 1993 in London, England. They began their career exploring drum and bass and jungle, but have since branched out into free improvisation and jazz, collaborating with many musicians from Europe and the United States. You may also recognize the name from the Victorian folklore legend of some dude, creature, whatever, of a diabolical physiognomy who was sighted around England preying on lone pedestrians (click HERE for more info). The “thing” was reported to have clawed hands, and eyes that “resembled red balls of fire”. Cool, right? Anyway, back to the music.
This album is the bands first album released in America back in 1996. This duo are known primarily known for their dense, dub-inspired take on jungle. And, that, folks – is so not my thing, like, at all. So why now?
Well, I put and two and two together to realize that John Coxon was the ex-guitarist for Spiritualized and I thought to myself: “Huh. How bad could it be?” I mean, I have to put in 90 minutes in on the bike anyway, so why not this? Chalk it up to my interest in the specific genealogies of the bands I really dig, of which Spiritualized is at the tippy-top of the list.
The album is an eclectic heap of ideas. ‘Pan’ deconstructs a piece of orchestral music, leaving behind only floating fragments of harmony. ‘Plates’ mixes frenetic Brasilian rhythm, reverbs of jazz trumpet and melodic keyboard lines. ‘Eesti’ has the trance quality of Tibetan mantras. However, all this use of high-pitched, polished strings and clean breakbeats over a whole 75-minutesis kind of like having, well, a root canal…sans anesthesia. In fact, the only song I could ever see myself enjoying (and I use that term “enjoy” loosely…very loosely) again was ‘Roger’ Tessier‘ which proved to be pretty decent for a few out-of-saddle-climbs. Aside from that, this Spring Heel Jack is more Spring Heel Jackshit if you ask me.
Sorry, John Boy.
I sure hope you got booted out of Spiritualized, because if you quit the band to do this racket, well….oops.
Total Shit List.