Alarm bells start to ring whenever I see the words producer and DJ attached to an LP. Now it’s a skill to be able to spin tunes and build the vibe on the dance floor, I don’t dispute that, but it seldom translates into an ability to produce cracking music. Most DJs’ LPs are as long as a Tolstoy novel and less interesting than the minutes to a train spotting convention.
It’s always cool to have you prejudices smashed and your preconceptions shoved through a shredder. Caged Baby aka Tom Gandey is a Brighton based DJ and producer who has remixed the likes of Har Mar Superstar, Armand Van Helden and Ocean Colour Scene. On Will See You Now he has fashioned a collection of songs that swing from beautiful chilled out bliss to filthy dance floor stompers.
The songs pulse with quirky hooks both musical and vocal. Caged Baby is a gifted writer who has forsaken the winsome strum of an acoustic guitar and replaced it with the clicks, whirls and sighs of the 21st century. Like Clor, Gandey dismembers ’80s synth pop and imaginatively reconstructs it with Andy Warhol’s Lego. The surfaces may be day glow and vibrant but underneath there lies hidden depths.
16 Lovers is the bastard love child of Royksopp and T Rex Those crisp airy melodies stamped over by a huge glam rock riff. Star spangled guitars smear trails of glittery foundation across the Depeche Mode styled growler that is Golden Triangle. Against The Wall is Talking Heads‘ jerky funk performed in a pair of Prince‘s old pants.
The ambient textures and percolating electronics that bubble through Hello There are pure Ibiza sunrise. The vocals recall Jon Marsh of the Beloved at his most blissed out. Berlin’s sweeping pads, clipped, treated vocals and slippery bass are the sound of the morning after the Love Parade. Empty city streets and a rueful heart. The fluttery techno shapes of Caribou/Manitoba echo through Never See More before a brief bar of Italian house piano flashes across like a comet. The skittering rhythms and glimmering strings of Evolution expose the luddite lie that electronic music is cold and lacking soul. It crackles with emotion, a wistful melancholy humming in the circuitry.
At the end of July it looked as if the summer had imploded. Windswept, rainy and soundtracked by the gloom rock of the Editors, it seemed to be a headlong rush into autumn. Now that we’re bathed again in warm August sunshine, Caged Baby’s Will See You Now could not have been better timed.