Nic TVG - Then I Disappear - review 3 for The Wire Magazine
Subtle Audio 2xLP / CD / DL
journalistic jungle revival of the last 6 months, from The Wire's Joe
Muggs commenting on dBridge being from a genre long "declared moribund"
(drum 'n' bass) by the mainstream music press, to Mixmag's "Jungle is
back" article by Alex Jones, only goes so far in counter-measuring that
these experimental fusions of breakbeats, sampledelia and Auxiliar-ite
(see the Autonomic movement in 2008) genre-crossing never went away. Nic
TVG, the Pinecone Moonshine label owner meanwhile has a dependency on
drumfunk, one of the many subgenres of drum 'n' bass that combines funk,
jazz, jungle and hiphop. Coined by Paradox circa 2004, "Then I
Disappear", Nic's debut LP can be observed as a serving of semblance
with all these genres and influences.
With "The Clown" a
dedication to Charles Gayle's street jazz persona, the hoppy parallels
with IDM of "Out Of No More" and the titular "Then I Disappear", Nic
dose-drops us with his main surgically-annotated weapon: depth of drum
work. Time-stretches on the opening piece "A Mouse Among Monsters" thuds
like a polluted heartbeat in LSD-infusion with Autechre-ish synths and
whirlwind rides. The pace is stripped back by noir-esque strings that
accent on the synths later on, leading into "The Clown" and its
nappy-clappy hi-hats and snares. It's the baby of the set, a naive
walker stumbling on a jazzy modulated bass, only to be shot in half by
filtered breakbeats that cut up the sound space like an angle grinder
stuffed with jazz samples from the Davis/Hancock continuum.
persistent strength on this album, and indeed all of the Subtle Audio
label's releases (The Wire's Simon Reynolds commented "original,
exciting, inventive" to the CD that was sent to him on Blissblog in
2007) is that he just lets loose with whatever creative (and) percussive
trajectory that appeals to him for writing. "Playing Drums As Pads"
reverses the placement of drums in the mix in an ideological point of
view, and it's little touches like these that keep the reader on their
toes of his narrative with the jazz and funk greats of old. So though
firmly rooted in breakbeat and drum 'n' bass / jungle BPMs, "Then I
Disappear" is certainly not something straying from the systematic of
adventure, no matter where he's gone after the 12 tracks have been
handed over to Conor O' Dwyer (brother of Second Language's Aine O'
Dwyer). And wherever the trail leads, the results are never less than