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Trus'me - In the Red

TRUS’ME - IN THE RED (Fat City/Prime Numbers)

Since his 2007 debut LP “Working Nights”, David Wolstencroft has gained a reputation as the Mancunian answer to Moodyman (Moodymanc has already been taken as a nom de guerre by another artist unfortunately!) - grainy funk samples, often in large size (listen to the Marvin Gaye excerpt on W.A.R.) inflected with a liberal dose of house/funk rhythm and left to percolate nicely in the foggy atmosphere of a darkened atmosphere tend to be quite effective. In this era of enlightened, refining revisionism where new ideas and forward-looking explorations seem to be solely the preserve of the dubstep/funky scene, it’s difficult to truly enthuse about such music when Detroit’s finest were treading that turf over a decade ago - and even then they were ultimately in thrall to the sample’s originators.

“In the Red” then is a pertinent title, Wolstencroft acknowledging the considerable debt he has, and to his credit, he has invited a number of collaborators to the album, including Paul Randolph, Amp Fiddler, Dam-Funk and Piranhahead. The album itself concentrates more on the low-slung boogie of the early 80’s, with covers of Was Not Was and Bill Withers tracks amongst those selected.

Unlike the previous album, this is much more organic, and song-based to boot. “Can we Pretend” kicking off  with Amp Fiddler providing his succulent vocals, which segues with ease into “Put It On”. The electro funk renaissance of Dam-Funk is timely, as his vocals are entirely appropriate for the reworking of WNW’s “Wheel Me Out” on “Bail Me Out”, the track bridging the gap between electro and disco. Of all the tracks, it’s the sparse skeletal percussion of “Sucker for a Pretty Face” and “In the Red” that seem to bring out the talent in Wolstencroft, an edgy atmospheric hum pervading over the former, and a more insistent, uptempo flourish to the latter that again is coloured by an ambiguous synthesiser-driven wash and Piranhahead’s instantly recognisable vocal refrain. Although the comparisons with KDJ are appropriate, on both of these offerings he’s managed to combine a more organic approach in composition without losing the machine funk orientation.

There’s time for one more great track, “Need a Job” being an uptempo trumpet-driven number with an irresistible bass-line. Album closer “Sweet Mother” hints at something quite special, echoey piano reverberating throughout, but I found the composition and production somewhat cloudy. However, this shouldn’t detract from a piece of work that hints at a further step in the right direction for Wolstencroft. The mix of disco, boogie, funk and edgy house produces a heady mélange of tracks that highlight his undoubted skill in composition and being able to extract assured funk from his collaborators. My only concerns are that it is, at times, somewhat slick, and like the recent Linkwood album, falls prey to the all-too-common problem of lacking a certain idiosyncratic character in its production. 

Toby Frith




Reader Comments (1)

I slept on this till i heard "bail me out" which instantly blew me away..
I completely agree with the review, a good step forward and a true machine funk self consciousness.

July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterpassEnger

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