Shackleton Three EPs

3×12″ Vinyl
Perlon (PERL76)
October 2009


‘Not an album’ from Sam Shackleton but a coincidental set of ‘EPs’ packaged together by German techno label Perlon.  The following is not a review.

A1  (No More) Negative Thoughts
B1  Let Go
B2  It’s Time for Love

In some other version of now, it was Mala’s ‘Conference’ not Coki’s ‘Haunted’ that proliferated like rhythmachinic spam filling up the shops and forums.  There, it’s all about delirious, teasing rhythms, percussive texture, weird incantations, flailing arms in dark rooms decorated by chthonic slide projections.  Ongy bongy, etc.  Space with your weight.  Shackleton is iconic of the whole thing and ‘Splash‘ goes for £100 on Discogs.

Several years on from the first Skull Disco releases, ex-pat Shackleton keeps a studio in a former East German broadcast centre. Like fellow travelers Mordant Music, his idosyncratic catalogue is easy to see as a genre unto itself.  Its sounds and themes are nurtured and re-crafted from record to record but they never settle.  A languid rhythmic psychedelia – first fully explored in 2007’s ‘You Bring Me Down‘ – has become his specialty.  ‘Let Go’ sees him back in 140bpm territory, beats halting and skipping, almost Jungle-like, around an agitated bass pulse.  It’s hazy, radios are squealing, and something keeps attacking from above.  Down in the runout groove German cartoon men talk about pants.

C1  Mountains of Ashes
C2  There’s a Slow Train Coming
D1  Moon Over Joseph’s Burial

‘Moon Over Joseph’s Burial’ – Skull Disco’s conceptual start point was the intergenerational necrorave – dig up your kin and get down.  ‘Moon…’ goes deeper.  Loose earth, lost footing.  Tricky slopes from a pitchbent organ.  Rhythms from bones and trinkets. Viscous drips that chatter across long corridors before flooding forward, leaving all the percussive bits to slosh around in a subterranean tide.  Scrapes and struggle.  Body-swelling pressure.  “Oh… oh .. oh. ..” a step out of time and repeating vacantly.  A mournful chorus responds but it’s out of reach and its song makes no sense anyway. Altogether it brings to mind a mind lingering longer than we’d like to think – after the end – shuttling between earthly ego panic and uneasy calm: Joseph perched at a threshold between the corporeal and a none-too-inviting Something Else.  Dim panic and glimpses through decomposition, and then it’s over, constantly, forever.  Liminal calm in lockgroove catatonia.

E1  Asha in the Tabernacle
F1  Trembling Leaf
F2  Something has got to Give

“He’s got the whole wide world in his hands…,” pitched down like a chorus of Jolly Green Giants.  What do you make of ‘Asha in the Tabernacle’?  “Sense it, know it, let it be.”  It’s another disorienting micro-epic: trip-you-up drums and bass, breathy pads in distress, and rapturous chants.  Somethig big is happening but we’re not meant to know what it is.  On the F-side, ‘Something has got to Give’ amplifies the tension and the noise.  More voices, more difficulty breathing, then quieter, into Photek-like suspense scene of reverberant percussion and an insistent, muted throbbing.  Recommended!

Buy Three EPs at Boomkat


Next: The surprising reappearance of Mr.Bump and the circumstances surrounding his equally sudden return to obscurity.

2 Responses to “Shackleton Three EPs”

  1. Andrea Says:

    Hello Paul,

    I ran into your blog and thought you might be interested in stuff on our new label launching in November.
    We represent artists from East and West, also got remixes from Zomby, Ramadanman and more. The sound basically crosses from wonky to dubstep.

    If you are interested please get back at me on my email,



  2. kek Says:

    Lovely piece, Paul. “intergenerational necrorave”…..or maybe “intergenerational necro*grave* “….