You Can Always Leave
Scissor & Thread (2013)
Listening to the two tracks on the A Side of Francis Harris’ new EP had me Googling the difference between deep house and dub techno, as I was unsure where to place it. If you keep up with the various microtrends of electronic music, you will probably understand what a vast range that spans. If not, then think of dub techno as listening to a rave in the belly of a Soviet submarine at 5,000 leagues, as opposed to the mechanical soul of deep house, which might sound like a wind-up jazz band.
Boomkat, the Rosetta Stone of electronic music, also referred to A1 “You Can Always Leave” as trip-hop, with its chill vocals and distant trumpets — and I can go along with it, although Gry Bagøien’s singing is more Bjork/Karin Andersson (The Knife/Fever Ray) than Beth Gibbons (Portishead), making the album opener an interesting new kind of electrojazz. You can still hear strains of the dub, deep in the mix, lapping like dark waves, and preventing this from being an ADD-addled, genre-hopping exercise. “You Can Always Leave” is destined to score some desolate dancefloor at 3:30, or perhaps the drive home after, as the sun comes up.
“Radiofreeze” is the dub excursion, which is ironic as it’s half the length of the title track. The music is stripped of its melody, of its humanism. This is pure mechanics, pure texture, as electron clouds of feedback swirl around a skeletal, uncluttered beat. Bass growls and glows like a beacon in the distance, as cello swims off in the distance. Fans of Deepchord, Basic Channel and Canadian sound artist Loscil need to pick this one up. Essential atmosphere.
The B-side is one long epic – a remix of the title track by the influential Terre Thaemlitz, operating under his/her DJ Sprinkles guise. Sprinkles really plays up the soul/funk of the original, surrounding Harris’ machine sounds and the distant call of the trumpet with congas, classic trance-y rave synths and steel drums, giving this a remix the feeling of dancing on black sand beaches, while sirens beckon from the distance. This is deep house; let there be no confusion about that. It’s designed to lock you into a groove and keep you there for hours.
“You Can Always Leave” is the lead single off of Harris’ forthcoming LP, Minutes Of Sleep, due in February 2014, once again on Harris’ own Scissors & Thread label. It’s threatening to blend house, modern classical, shoegaze and noise, and from the sound of “You Can Always Leave”, promises to be both warm and chilly, simultaneously, and one of the deepest dancefloor documents of the coming dark months.