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Strategy - Future Rock

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Artist: Strategy

Album: Future Rock

Label: Kranky

Review date: Jun. 12, 2007

Paul Dickow is a fixture of Portland electronics-enhanced, new weird Cascadia sprouted from the rubble of Jessamine. Or perhaps he's just one of its most prolific participants. After the bleary jazz-damaged fuzz of Fontanelle and, now, rumbling moods of Nudge, not to mention continued activity as a proprietor of both the Community Library and Archigramophone labels, Dickow is perhaps busiest as Strategy. Future Rock, Dickow's third album under the Strategy name and second for Chicago's Kranky, is a striking departure from 2004's Drumsolo's Delight. A simulated mash of library music and barbituric overdubs, its a total dream.

While Dickow's prior album has the steely definition and titanium sheen of laptop interfacing, Future Rock is all moldy splotches and sunspotted haze. Dickow's voice, sparingly used on the Kranky debut, a clean line of warm blood tubed along steely gears, is here vocoded and etherized into another wisp of bleached color swirling in the electric daze. Maybe its the way Dickow melts together live instrumentation – trebbly guitar splats, rustling drums, sparks and dollops of Wurlitzer energy – and a synthetic canopy of eldritch tones into a polyrthmic jumble that faintly recalls the misty, oneiric funk of Can's Future (!) Days. Or maybe its just all the dribbling echo of spring reverb. But there's a balmy film that veils Future Rock with an almost palpable moisture. Every instrument and noise is a drop, pinlet, or drip pooling in random swarms, merging into amorphous globules, gushing in murky spurts, slipping into silence. Dickow's Future Rock may in fact be a thing instead of a genre. If so, its a mossy, mud-flecked boulder teeming with microbial activity.

By Bernardo Rondeau

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