Published May 7, 2013
Futuregrapher makes jungle. Rapid-fire beats composed from familiar breaks, dreamy pads with major sevenths, vocal samples and the occasional jazzy riffs: It’s all in here. Of course, this is somewhat unusual since the genre has pretty much been dormant since the mid-nineties, in the sense that there’s hardly been any development although new tracks have continued to surface. Or maybe I just stopped paying attention. Either way, in Futuregrapher’s case it hardly matters. This is an excellent LP that would sit nicely next to titles by Boymerang, Jonny L or something off of Good Looking Records.
“Elísa” might be the highlight. A jazzy track with layered old-skool breaks, thick and warm bass-tones, spacy sax riffs, and a bunch of twitching acid on top. It is perhaps only matched by “Kjarninn” with its unforgiving groove, smooth wurly chords and growling bass synths. “Think” is a busy cut featuring local activist/conspiracy-theorist Guðjón Heiðar Valgarðsson half-speaking, half-rapping a call to arms against capitalist and martial powers to acid bass lines and machine gun snare-rolls. This works surprisingly well—Guðjón is calm and sensible, yet pointed in his lyrics, and his unusual delivery and vocal pitch prop one’s ears open. Closer “Bons” is based on ear-splitting beats reminiscent of Aphex Twin over sub-bass and pads.
As is compulsory on any drum ’n’ bass or jungle record, there are some cuts here in different, slower grooves. “James Acid” is a decent acid track with ambient undertones (Think Carl Craig or the bleep and bass of early Warp), and “Engihjalli Ambient” is a brief pad-driven opener that sets a warm and comfortable mood. More forgettable is “Stapi,” with its attempts at melody coming off improvisational and naïve.
But hats off to Futuregrapher for sticking to a style and coming up with something tasty fifteen years after the raw materials’ expiry date.