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Pale Blue Dot

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Album Review

After retiring way back in 2002, Red Snapper continued releasing product — collections, remix albums, stray tracks here and there — but only returned five years later with a six-track album that shows them quite invigorated. Sounding positively light and bouncy, the opener "Brickred" points beyond the Red Snapper of the past (i.e. innovative but a little self-serious). Moving from joyful to jazzy to heavy on the first three tracks, the group sound like they've been stockpiling ideas during their time away, although each member of the core trio had at least one project keeping him busy. That core lineup — bassist Ali Friend, drummer Richard Thair, and guitarist David Ayers — is rounded out by someone with the dubious moniker of Tom Challenger on reeds and melodica, and it's his saxophone that makes the most difference to Red Snapper here. Often sounding like the soundtrack to an urban detective story — and yes, there is some BBC soundtrack work in Ayers' recent past — Pale Blue Dot is a distinctive record, with six tracks to fit at least six different moods.

Customer Reviews

A varied journey with some electronics

An insistent release, with a variety of styles anchored by the guitar and bass tones. The best moments: the afropop of Lagos Creepers; the dubby echoey meander of Moving Mountain; the jam-band piece of Wanga Doll; and the jazzy, funky jump of Clam. The biggest problem? The compositions at times seem a little limited despite the stylistic variations; Bricked still works with its catchy and bright 80's new wave sound, but it is repetitive. The remix's kraut rock tinge is a neat shift, but the repetitions make seven minutes of that too long. Similarly, the Clam remix would've worked better as a 4-5 minute piece.


Formed: 1993 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Notable for their pioneering synthesis of acoustic instruments and electronic textures, the British acid jazz trio Red Snapper comprised guitarist David Ayers, double bassist Ali Friend, and drummer Richard Thair. Formed in 1993, the group's debut EP, The Snapper, appeared the following spring; after two more EPs, Swank and Hot Flush, the band signed to the acclaimed Warp Records, where their early singles were later compiled as Reeled & Skinned. The full-length Prince Blimey was released in 1996,...
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Pale Blue Dot, Red Snapper
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