Lounge tinged jazz, jazz tinged gospel… whichever piece of the press release you believe, Zoon Sandwich sees Slipper doing with it what Moby did with gospel – sample it and stick it into original music.
The primary difference between what the bald vegetarian did and what Slipper do here is to be found after a few moments’ listening. While Moby went for easy-tempo beats to get an over-weaned audience toe-tapping, Slipper take the samples into an atmospheric place of late-night parps, echoes and lyrical musings, with very little in the way of coherent rhythm to distract from the other-worldly atmosphere they create – save for one or two exceptions which prove the rule, like Blues & Lights.
But in amongst the dramatic ride cymbals, the John Barry-esque string riffs, the lovely twang of a double bass and the tittle-tattling of the various drum sounds and effects, there’s also a playfulness here, characterised by the album title, the sleeve and the choice of samples, which is quite at odds with the mildly disconcerting music.
The five-piece outfit have clearly taken on music and arrangement with the intention of creating something different, and hats off to them for that, for this they have achieved. Even if Feelin’ Good sounds like Massive Attack working without a killer riff, and Obsession – despite the aid of a sampled Dennis Weaver – sounds like Lemon Jelly having a bad trip.
It’s a record that endears itself to the listener after a few hearings rather than instantaneously. Unlike fellow sample-heads The Avalanches, Slipper don’t even attempt to construct a tune from their material, but are instead happy to stick to soundtrack territory.
So the end result is something you can’t whistle, can’t dance to and wouldn’t really bother with unless you’d drunk a bottle of wine and had smoked enough to avoid seeing where the walls stop and the carpet starts. And for all that, it’s a musically interesting album. Zoon Sandwich is, fundamentally, just some way clear of Moby-like “accessible”, but it’ll make for an interesting post-club experience.