Bookworms – Xenophobe

Vinyl (2x12'')
BANK [BANK002]

Nik Dawson drops his (seemingly effortless) first album on the Bank label outta NYC.

You may know Bookworms from his exemplary track record on the almighty LIES imprint, starting back in 2012 with that whitelabel. More recently he dropped the ‘Touchless Automatic’ EP, also for LIES which sonically paved the way for ‘Xenophobe’.

7 tracks split across two plates housed in some great artwork are the order of the day here – nothing but quality from start to finish. Opening with that signature Bookworms blend of woozy, looping techno that presses all the right buttons for us – ‘U More’ and ‘U Say So’ make up the A side, the former barely tipping the 110bpm mark – it’s casual, trippy techno music you could spend hours immersed in. Flip the disc for one of the real highlights ‘STE-027’ which gets a side all to itself – clocking in just shy of 20 minutes this gem floats in on a wave of softly hissing pads and fizzing hats, gradually teasing the kickdrums in, Dawson plays the long game – treating the listener to a cinematic trip through Kodachrome tinted film – sunkissed arpeggios float in and out of the mix with a total disregard for conventional structure – they bleed through bars, tail off in the wrong place – subtle tricks that keep you firmly focussed on, what after a few listens reveals itself to only be a very select few elements. No easy task but one that is pulled off here with considerable ease.

Things take a turn to the darkside for the on the second plate – ‘Illusion Flip’ thumps out some weighty kick drums over a fizzing wash of atmospherics and melancholy synths, before stripping things right back to the delicate yet claustrophobic styles of ‘In Character’.

The murky aquatics of the aptly titled ‘Showering’ open the final side, running percolating arp sequences through waves of murky atmospherics –  the ever present thump of a kickdrum anchors the listener like a pair of concrete boots, caught in the undertow, forced to take in the evolving textures swirling past.

A real trip this one, deftly pulling off the difficult ‘dance music album’, a cohesive collection of tracks, each with more than enough power to rock a dance and with enough subtlety to warrant home listening sessions – if you dig that woozy techno gear, we reckon you’ll be hard pushed to find a better long player this year.

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