Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Super Hi-Fi - "Single Payer" on Electric Cowbell Records

Unlike most punk or rock seven inches, a band like Super Hi-Fi isn't the sort of thing that comes together in a weekend with friends who have no formal training. Not that sometimes it completely works but a five piece funk band with a double trombone section requires a minimum of probably half a century of training to get to the point of Super Hi-Fi. The jazz dub combination of styles takes dedication to first absorb and repeat everything that came before in technique and concepts but then to get anywhere original you have to then basically start over completely. It's an insane, daunting approach that just means they are more dedicated than most of these bands that put out a single and break up before getting rid of the 300 copies. This dedication translates into a heavily crafted, perfectly recorded single on Electric Cowbell.

"Single Payer" is going to reintroduce those familiar with the echo/dub sound that began with King Tubby. They've got heavy rim shot gymnastics and small jabs at an electric guitar with just a single barred chord; the most minimal approach to establish the melody. Fantastic horn work that’s as constructed and exacting as that brief stab on the electric, even getting a little dark with the ultra low-end brass. Low blows working in a way most bass lines can't get to in its combination of brightness and groove. Drawing on that jazz tradition of establishing the melody and then breaking it down and exploring every permutation. Muted and fragmented like this electric rhythm, it's a strange kind of tropicalia, with the echo veering into space. Interesting sampled delays work in but these horns are the stars almost taking over the absent vocal, singing across scales with the same range of emotion.

“Singe Payer - Victor Rice Dub Part II”, isolates that horn section to set expectations to start up the melody and drop it out, delaying the echo a thousand fold, bringing the high-hat out to the front. The echo's of these sounds folding in on themselves exponentially complicate the rhythms. Keeping this weird tension in repeatedly starting and stopping at odd intervals, it's own timing recreated out of the main hits with every delay at it's own irregular speed. Like a cars engine turning over, is it going to make it? Hesitating to catch while the disc keeps spinning. A fog horn bleat from a heavy manipulated trombone because Victor's willing to tamper with the very speeds and source. Chopping up dub to an almost inhuman electronic degree, in an attempt to take back some of the precision Super Hi-Fi brought to the table. Were they too natural, too organic? He's got to whip this track back into mechanical shape leaving no trace whatsoever of the hands that shaped it.

Get this from Electric Cowbell Records, looks like they have a full length from these guys as well.

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