Following a busy year of stylistically varied releases under various guises on his own Magic + Dreams label, Ralph Cumbers delivers his first long-player for Punch Drunk. With a title lifted from the lysergic prose of a Brian Aldiss novel and grooves informed by the loopier, more Martian aspects of Chi-town jack and Detroit techno-soul, “Reeling Skullways” marks a subtle, but highly alluring development in the evolution of Cumbers’ primary recording project.
Long-term Bass Clef fans may be surprised by the lack of samples on this album, and in many ways it follows a similar creative process to his recent work as Some Truths, with most rhythms and textures sculpted from the raw, elemental waveforms of modular analogue synthesis. But with tighter editing, contagious melodies and perfectly positioned drum patterns, the end results reveal Bass Clef simultaneously at his most stripped-back, focused, playful, complicated, emotional and irresistibly groovy. Unfettered by fashionable production tricks, imbued with a timeless machine-soul heart, “Reeling Skullways” is one of those albums you’ll be reaching for again and again.
1 Keep Hoping Machine Running
2 Walworth Road Acid Trapdoor
3 Hackney – Chicago – Jupiter
4 Embrace Disaster
5 Electricity Comes From Other Planets
6 Stenaline Metranil Solar Flare
7 Suddenly Alone Together
8 A Rail Is A Road And A Road Is A River
9 Ghost Kicks In The Spiral