Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Stephen Mallinder - Um Dada (2019)

I wasn't really expecting a whole lot of this one, having been somewhat inundated with newly unearthed Cabaret Voltaire material of late; but bloody hell - it may even be the best thing he's ever had a hand in. His previous solo album was Pow Wow, a couple of decades back which, although it sounds so different in terms of instrumentation as to have been recorded by someone else, somehow feels similar. Actually that's probably a redundant observation given that Um Dada similarly shares common ground with the very best Cabaret Voltaire material in being extended grooves rather than songs; and while there's always been a funky element, this time it verges on nu disco. Benge is involved in some capacity, which may - I suppose - be significant in how this relates to the last couple of Wrangler releases with that same popping analogue bop underpinning the beats like nothing so much as a distant descendant of Jack the Groove - which isn't a comparison I make lightly.

Um Dada is seven tracks of electric disco-house perfection and stands as contender for album of the year, possibly the century, and possibly also Mallinder's entire back catalogue. I'm told Cabaret Voltaire still exist as Richard H. Kirk's solo thing due to his having taken a bit of a funny turn in recent times; so I don't know what he's been up to in Mallinder's absence, but it would have to be pretty fucking skippy to come close to this one.

I'm not sure I've heard a stack of bleeping, blooping machines ever sound quite so human or organic as what we have here.

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