Since leaving Leeds avant-popsters Hood six years ago, Matt Robson has issued four albums under his Random Number alias, each on a different label. His latest, Modern Ambivalence, comes courtesy of Tokyo-based Moamoo.
Robson’s music combines gltchy electronica with a melodic pop sheen, similar to Chris Clark’s or Squarepusher’s gentler sides. Like 2006’s Golden Acre Sleeps, three tunes feature the voice of Katie Lou Moore. Rather than being straight vocal tracks, however, her voice is sampled and processed to give a fairly alien effect. This is particular effective on “Sleep” where she sounds like a ghostly echo trapped in a malfunctioning CD player. “Silver Shadow Follows You” has a similar feel to Aphex Twin’s “Windowlicker” in the way that the beats stutter to give a kind of fractured funk.
Other highlights include the epic title track, which sounds like ambient music stuck in a food blender and haphazardly glued together, like Kid606 attempting a homage to mid-nineties Warp, and the brilliantly named “Potternewton Haiku Society”. Best of all is the skittish, but extremely pretty closer “From Carried To Keen” which ends in a rare burst of fuzzed guitar. But there isn’t a weak tune on the album.
It’s a pity that Modern Ambivalence sneaked out in December when most people seemed to be busy looking back on the year rather than paying any attention to new stuff. It’s an intelligent and accomplished album which reveals new things with each listen.
1 Push (5:39)
2 Sion Everywhere (4:18)
3 Puddles Filled With Pine Needles (1:23)
4 Line Copse Long (5:24)
5 Silver Shadow Follows You (3:21)
6 Modern Ambivalence (7:20)
7 Double Slow Thinking (5:47)
8 Black Hills (1:51)
9 Potternewton Haiku Society (4:15)
10 From Carried To Keen (6:35)