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Album Review

Oddities is the perfect title for this album, which is billed as an "'official bootleg' featuring music from (the group's) private collection" and which collects compilation tracks and other ephemera selected from Spring Heel Jack's various side projects. Those in search of the artsy, refined drum'n'bass that has always been this band's stock in trade will be disappointed; in fact, grooves of any kind are pretty much absent. But those with a taste for the weird, the abstract, and the avant-garde will find a lot to like here. The program includes modern musique concrete ("Trouble," "Piece for Six Turntables"), dubwise sinewave sculpture ("Shine a Light"), raver minimalism ("2nd Piece for LaMonte Young"), and the group's remix of Material's "Road to the Western Lands," which features the voice of William Burroughs intoning factoids about Egyptian soul death over an eerie and deeply reverberant ambient soundscape. The only steady rhythm to be found is on the album's opening track, a fuzzy conglomeration of nested guitar loops and keyboard samples. This is a consistently interesting album, if not always a completely enjoyable one.


Formed: 1993 in London, England

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The recordings of John Coxon and Ashley Wales as Spring Heel Jack were some of the earliest and best applications of hard-edged drum'n'bass to the full-length LP concept with no lack of energy, similar in result to Orbital's living-room/danceclub fusion of techno. A pop producer who had worked with Betty Boo, Marc Almond, and Spiritualized, Coxon met up with classical composer Wales while working as a soul DJ in London's East End. The duo soon began recording breakbeat jungle, initially with inclinations...
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