Album Reviews

Aim – Flight 602

(Atic) UK release date: 25 September 2006

A lot has changed for Andy Turner since hislast studio album as Aim, 2003’s acclaimed Hinterland.What remains, however, is the unlikely juxtapositionof North-West England and North America.

The broad soundscapes he conjures up capture the brooding peaksof his home county Cumbria, but they come dressed in ahip hop clothing that lends them a distinctive edgemuch of the way through.

Since Hinterland, Turner took the decision to leaveGrand Central, the label that gave him initial successwith Cold Water Music, as he was unsure of itsdirection. He set up his own Atic label primarily as avehicle for his own material, but intends in time totake on new acts. And with Flight 602, he’s made anauspicious start.

Turner has the ability to produce music ofexquisite orchestration. With the hip hop rhythmspushing forwards, he weaves snatched samples, shortriffs and atmospheric bursts of sound that drift inand out of the listener’s perception. Walking HomeThrough The Park finds him beginning the album intender reflection with a luxuriant progression ofstring chords. Tracks like Birchwood go in the otherdirection however, with an urgent groove and weirdgrowling noises round about.

It’s this flexibility that keeps the record alive,and Turner’s fascination with organic, acoustic linesfrom a flute here, a xylophone there, consistentlyreward close listening.

Once again Turner enlists the vocal talents ofNiko, with her first contribution to thewonderful Northwest. Here a loping hip hop rhythm setsthe scene for an edgy yet beguiling vocal,refreshingly untempered in production.

Occasionally the music gets just a little toosweet, as in the twee Smile, where birdsong and flutemix easily. Much better is the contentment found inPier 57, whose consonant harmonies and easy-goingriffs are perfect late night material. The spaciousInterview is a widescreen treat, and the gentlylapping It’s Later Than You Think ties things upperfectly at the close.

As would befit someone recording on their ownlabel, Aim now sounds totally at ease, free of theconstrictions of anybody else’s decision making. Andyet that ease rarely translates to total relaxation,as the odd edgy rhythm or melodic figure keeps thelistener just on their toes.

So while Flight 602 is an essentially peaceful onethere’s just a hint of turbulence, and it workswonderfully well.

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Aim @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Aim – Flight 602