Another typically interesting release from Ninja Tune, they’ve been doing this for so long that its pretty hard to credit how their quality control remains so high. Whilst contemporary labels such as Mo Wax burned hard then faded away and others such as Warp have maintained, but with creative lulls in their output Ninja seem as solid as ever. Raffertie is one of their newer breed. This album demonstrating why the label is so well thought of. This probably wont be in their top 5 LP’s of the year, but may well have been on other, lesser labels. Sleep Of Reason kicks off with Undertow, which is a decent enough start, sci fi synths making way for a rumbling beat. The next track, Rain shifts gear into an XX style, sparse beats and gentle electronica melodies underpin a hushed vocal. Build Me Up follows with more effect laden vocals over a skittering heavier beat, funky in a Flying Lotus off kilter kind of way. Gagging Order trips along similarly before you flip over the fetching white vinyl for Touching a more uptempo tune sounding like a Jamie XX production (lacking only the steel drums). One Track Mind is an instrumental with keys arpeggios changing the vibe into a more club friendly groove, similarities with some of Prins Thomas productions here. Last Train Home draws the first record to a close. Back to the vocals, but heavily treated with reverb and a bit of echo over deep rolling bass. Side 3 sets off with Trust, another XX style track, all the more so with the addition of YADi adding her pipes to the mix. Principle Action starts with gentle plinks and plonks before rumbling bass and beats kick in with some acid squelches and more treated vocals laid over the top of a half paced number. Known trips by nicely before habing to flip over to side 4 and Windows Out. Another off kilter track with kinda backwards effects on beats some piano tinkled over the top and spooky stmospherics giving this a pleading horror film soundtrack feel. A dubstep Cliff Mansell? Possibly the weakest tracks (for me anyway) are the last two, Black Rainbow which drifts by a bit and Back Of The Line that seems to try a bit too hard to be epic and just sounds a bit messy after the more refined and sparser treatment of previous tracks. However, with most of the 13 tracks being winners, I reckon this deserves a solid 8 out of 10 and a recommendation to check it out.
Raffertie – One Track Mind: http://youtu.be/bJaJBN38r3U