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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

Red Snapper are notable for a pioneering and evolving synthesis of acoustic and electronic sounds that has drawn from avant-garde jazz, funk, dub, post-punk, and hip-hop. Guitarist David Ayers, double bassist Ali Friend, and drummer Richard Thair formed the London-based band in 1994, the year they released their first two EPs, both of which featured Beth Orton as the first of several vocal collaborators. After a third EP, it and the preceding releases were licensed to Warp, which compiled them as...
Full Bio
Pale Blue Dot, Red Snapper
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