shit robot

EP Review: Feel Like Movin' / We Got A Love - The Juan Maclean / Shit Robot

This fantastic new split single from DFA showcases some inspirational new stuff from label stalwarts The Juan Maclean and Shit Robot. Neither song significantly changes the sound each artist has been pushing recently but both feel like they've been honed to close to perfection.

The Juan Maclean's "Feel Like Movin'" features vocals from regular collaborator and (technically ex-) LCD Soundsystem member Nancy Whang, who delivers the kind of semi-deadpan, semi-loved up vocal she used on The Juan Maclean's "Happy House". The track is an upbeat twisted piano-house track full of uplifting and optimistic vibes. Whang's vocals plead you to dance and the track has a weird parallel to The Juan Maclean's beautiful "Dance With Me". Where the latter was aloof but touching, robotics trying to break through into humanity, this is the opposite: sweaty and familiar and up-close. "So let your heart get crazy / and let your head get dizzy / let yourself get busy, it's easy" calls Whang, probably as she disappears into the throng of the dancefloor. It's the rushing intimacy that only comes from lost evenings with lost boundaries.

Shit Robot's "We Got A Love" features comedian and musician Reggie Watts and comes from a similar place but it is a little more understated. Deep throbbing drums and a dubby bass create a momentum whilst the piano loop recaptures early-90s urban distance. Watts' vocal is scattershot and adlibbed, flipping from falsetto to baritone and back within the same verse. It feels like one of Shit Robot's most fully realised tracks since the excellent "Simple Things (Work It Out)".

Both The Juan Maclean and Shit Robot are due full releases in 2014. Feel Like Movin’ / We Got A Love is out now through DFA and is limited to 500 stamped and numbered copies. Grab the digital release of "Feel Like Movin'" and "We Got A Love" from Amazon.co.uk [affiliate links].

 

Album Review: From The Cradle To The Rave - Shit Robot

BlackPlastic has appreciated the work of Shit Robot since their track 'Wrong Galaxy' appeared on Radio Slave's rather excellent Creature Of The Night compilation back in 2007.

Back then 'Wrong Galaxy' felt like a breath of fresh air - proper techno done properly at a time when dance music was obsessed with being anything it wasn't. Electroclash, post-punk, rock music - all were greatly incorporated into tracks that worked on the dance floor, but sometimes less is more. And in essence From The Cradle To The Rave delivers on the promise of that first single.

Notably absent though it may be, 'Wrong Galaxy' is a demonstration of Shit Robot alter-ego Marcus Lambkin's approach to music. And so when album opener 'Tuff Enuff' turns up with it's functional, driving bass line, spoken vocals and minimal synth washes it is clear that this album will leave you wanting more, not less.

There are a couple of moments that may fail to live up to the heights that Shit Robot can sometimes achieve - 'I Found Love' feels unnecessary, particularly compared to the imagination demonstrated on previous singles 'I Gotta Feeling' or the dizzying 'Simple Things (Work It Out)'.

'Simple Things' itself remains the best thing Shit Robot have released - a track so perfectly formed that it simply never gets old, the perfect combination of classic techno and house where the real innovation comes from nothing but the bloody-minded quality of the thing.

The Alexis Taylor guest spot on 'Losing My Patience' is great and 'Take 'Em Up', featuring Nancy Whang, is even better - a slick slice of eighties-pop sheen. Things round out with previous single 'Triumph!!!' and frankly it's an appropriate name and an appropriate conclusion.

Cradle To The Rave succeeds because it is so focused - compared to much of DFA's output this is remarkably straight forward house music, but it is all the better for that fact.

BP x

From The Cradle To The Rave is out now on DFA, available from Amazon.co.uk on CD, LP and MP3 [affiliate links].