23 March 2006


Warp bookSo who is Kyler? Surprisingly, this purveyor of mellow, playful sampledelica and fine, pastoral electronica is none-other than Henry Collins, aka Gabba-Jungle lunatic Shitmat. "Pur Cosy Tales" is the first offering from this alter-ego, and jolly nice it is too. I actually received an early draft of this album well over a year ago (the track "Grand Coulee Dam" featured on GutterFM back in June) and, although the tracklist has altered quite a bit since then, it's still a lengthy collection of 32 tracks (many of which terminate , unresolved, after a couple of minutes) recorded during the period 2002-04, that constantly changes gear and shifts emphasis, giving the continued impression that this is an aural scrapbook of moods, feeling and ideas.

In places it sounds like the blurry folktronica of Four Tet, Minotaur Shock or even some of the interlude pieces that Boards Of Canada produce, full of artificially aged textures and vaguely hauntological specters, like the mellotron flutes on "John", which sounds like some old '70s Open University jingle. Then there's "Coal", with a muffled vocal that seems buried under decades of tape compression, as though Ariel Pink had wandered into the studio and mumbled a little tune into the mic. The exotic sway of "Ladybird Island" sounds like an android version of Martin Denny's backing band, whilst "Green Wooden Huts" is awash with magical childhood Christmas sensations - you can practically smell the pine trees. There's so much delicate, understated warmth on offer that the occasional return of the mischievous glitch-meister is an almost unwelcome intrusion, as on the heavily cut-up fairground organ swirl of "High Speed Dubbin". I can't help thinking there's a really satisfying, carefully sequenced 45 minute listening album in here somewhere, but I guess that's not the point. Henry scatters all these (sometimes cruelly throwaway) ideas into the melting pot, and the listener is left to gain whatever stimulation they can from it all. I can't say I enjoy everything on "Pur Cosy Tales", but maybe, when I've got the measure of it, I'll compile the best bits in a nice order and program the CD player accordingly.

(The CD is supposed to be released this week, but I can't see it listed at the usual places. Soon come, I'm sure...)