Fusion at its best, with grooves that straddle order and chaos, from an outfit at the top of their game
Is Soccer96’s latest offering a jazz record for fans of electronic music or an electronic record for fans of jazz music? Whichever it is, the British duo have delivered some fascinating compositions and textures, with grooves that straddle order and chaos nicely. Inner Worlds is ably assisted by various guest vocalists, including Salami Rose Joe Louis and Colours That Rise, but the album is musically varied and imaginative enough to let its instrumental tracks flourish as well.
Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds kicks things off with an unorthodox time signature, sequenced bass ostinato and crunchy backbeat, its arrangement strung out by layers of analog synths. Due to the regular nature of the ostinato the track is on a fixed grid, in contrast with Yesterday Knows Me’s loping, lumbering drums playing catch-up with the upbeat, and its chords keep a sense of propulsion as they ascend and descend modally.
Crystal Pyramid breaks out the triplets and square-wave bass, the hi-hats hissing menacingly alongside the erratic arpeggios, while Triple Helix is a surprisingly low-key closing track: the rhythmic interplay between drums and keyboard is nice enough but it’s perhaps a little underwhelming in context.
Adrenalin is the record’s most ambitious song, with syncopation at breakneck speed and a structure which eschews repetition in favour of a psychedelic rabbit-hole. At certain points the sonic intensity and brute impact is reminiscent of a vintage DFA remix, wrenching the knobs up to 11 and making the machines squeal, though of course a jazzy track like this is also home to some killer solos that add an extra angle to the melee.
Inner Worlds is fusion at its best, with the best qualities of various styles on full display and in delightful harmony with each other. Soccer96 are on top of their game.