Album Reviews

Dani Siciliano – Slappers

(K7) UK release date: 4 September 2006

A provocative title for the second album ofMatthew Herbert‘s partner and long timevocalist, one that brings to mind the directness ofPeaches. As you’d expect though, Sicilianoproves to be rather more subtle in her music andlyrical execution.

You wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of herthough. There’s definitely a hint of menace in thequieter vocals here, whether intended or not – not awoman you’d think of messing with. Even her moreobvious come-ons – and you can’t get much more directthan Didn’t Anybody Tell You where she coos “get off,get off on me” – are startling in their effect.

On top of this is her highly original way withproduction. Electronic music for sure, but severalmediums have been considered and filter their way intothe consciousness – blues, soul, country even. Theinfluence of Herbert runs throughout – that is, untilyou remember Siciliano and Herbert have long beenmutually influential, so she deserves rather morerecognition than she gets! His credit as an additionalproducer implies more than a backroom role, but forthe subtle electronic brushes dressing much ofSlappers Siciliano can get the credit for the originalnoises coming out of mixing desk and sampler.

Like Herbert, Siciliano tends to utilise electronicmanipulations of acoustic material. Though seeminglystopping short of battery chickens and crunchingapples this time, there’s more imagination to be foundin the choice of sources. They Can Wait uses vocalsamples from an American high school, channelledthrough drummer Leo Taylor‘s kit. My Produceris a great in-joke between Siciliano and Herbert, withDani’s self-produced track entirely using beatssampled from her own voice. On the title track, allrecording artists present slap their asses for extrasampling material – quite literally, a load ofarse.

The electronic wizardry is never used for the sakeof display though, and always adds something essentialto the music. In no way is this over-produced, and thesubtlety of the counter melodies is often astonishing,as in what sounds like a filtered, flutter-tonguedflute in a fuzzy distorted clothing for They CanWait.

She’s the female equivalent to Herbert for sure,but with her own strong personality firmly stamped onthis record, her original thoughts laid out in whatbecomes a surprisingly intimate, thought provoking andoccasionally startling listen.

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