Slam – Reverse Proceed
Glaswegian duo mix acid house, ambience and techno to create timeless electronic sound
With their first record in seven years, the Glaswegian duo behind house classic ‘Positive Education’ have created a record which belies their 22 years in existence to build upon an electronic sound which is truly timeless. Aesthetically, this may be much to do with the fact that its production has foregone software-based composition in favour of Stuart MacMillan and Orde Meikle’s desire to use the locally-produced Cirklon sequencer, a device which gives the record a refreshingly old-school feel.
It’s not so much in or out of tune with current developments in house and techno music as positioned somewhere beyond them. Reverse Proceed sounds modern, but much of the music here could also have been composed in Detroit in 1988 or West Germany in the mid-70s: in places, comparisons to early Tangerine Dream are unavoidable and no shame.
That the whole thing has been presented as one continuous mix isn’t an affectation, but rather a conscious and well-justified artistic decision to create a tightly controlled and expansive listening experience. This record hasn’t been designed with sending out a couple of promo 12-inch bangers to DJs and radio stations and flogging an album on the back of it, it’s a richly-composed single body of work in its own right.
Sadly the fact that the promotional stream which has been sent for review doesn’t break each track down individually makes it tricky to highlight certain sequences which might be picked out for comment over others, but in light of the above that’s probably fair to the record. It’s a journey which starts amid a Blade Runner-esque swirl of traffic noise and Japanese Tannoy announcements, and when the beats come in they’re so obviously not intended to take us to the dancefloor – not until later in the record, at least, when the evocative ambient swirl gives way to a few segments of old-fashioned acid house. In this sense it’s a journey through the last half century of electronica as much as a futurist aural psychogeography.