Review of The Man From Impossible:
‘Hang on, friends. We’ve been strapped to a jazz- and funk-fueled rocket with a guidance system that may not know where it’s headed, but it’s damn sure we’re all going to have good time getting there. I mean, are you going to pass on having a listen to tracks with titles like “Slicker Than Yo Mama” (parts one and two, by the way) and “Shaft in Space”? While The Man from Impossible sits on the farthest borders of what I normally review, this hyper-infectious mash of soul, hip-hop/trip-hop, and electronica has won me over. Silas Wood and company know their way around a smooth groove, and they lay them down over and over. A lot of the tracks here smack of the kind of ’90s IDM that embraced sampled jazz licks as their base and worked upward and outward from there. “The Airmail Track” takes a jazz trio formation, adds congas, and gives it a little adrenalin. There’s a sweet bass run in the middle that has aw, yeah carved straight into it. And if it’s bass you love (like me), you’ll overdose just a little on “Robots Body Pt 1″ as it wrestles with a deconstructing guitar riff that all but falls apart, by design, by the end. “Shaft in Space” taunts you with 40 seconds of the wayward sound of someone walking along a corridor before dropping in electric piano, flute, and a kickin’ backbeat. Wood manipulates the sound in spots, to give it a trippy edge. Richard Roundtree just might approve. And, yes, “Slicker Than Yo Mama, Pt 1″ is a stone groove for your pleasure. Meaty, strolling bass charts the course for electric keys and a roughly textured backdrop. This thing just drips slow cool. (Part 2 is the lesser of the “Slicker” pieces, a rap, more or less, of layered phrases growled out by Dan Whisker. It’s fine for the minute it lasts, and it’s kind of funny, but the disc could do without it.) Speaking of vocals, Susan Dillane’s sexily sleepy voice is brought into play on “Use Me,” which ought to be getting at least club airplay, and “Ghosts.” Sarah-Daisy Burnard brings a Suzanne-Vega-in-a-bad-mood swagger to “Shopawise.” (And you might hear a little “Tom’s Diner” echo hiding in the mix.)
The Man from Impossible came as a pleasant surprise to me. When the first track, “El Nino,” kicked in with something between a klezmer dance and a spy-movie theme, I admit I had a “Whaaat?’ reaction–but when Wood drops it out to his first dollop of familiar cool, surprise turned to hey now, and I was down for the trip. This disc has been in heavy rotation over here. It’s a first-tier go-to when I need a dose of good musical fun. Well worth checking out. Get your funk on, yeh?’
Hypnagogue, 18th November 2012.
Thank you, Mr Hypnagogue!