Plaid : Double Figure

Cerebral sounds from bleep legends

Cerebral sounds from bleep legends

The arrival of 70 minutes of new electronica from the Warp label, the ancestral home of bleep, could be about as thrilling as Geri Halliwell’s latest rhythmic abyss. When Radiohead have already moved the Warp sound moodily mainstream, can we really expect another Plaid album to soundtrack a new chapter in the influential label’s history? Or is it just going to be a bit, well, Orbital?

Thankfully the electronica veterans, now on their third

album after an apprenticeship in ’90s tie-dye techno heroes

Black Dog, are closer in spirit to label mate Squarepusher, whose records are even more obsessively inventive than ‘Double Figure’. Plaid’s digitally inspired genius is to make electronic noises and the odd sample sound sad and celebratory, while occupying

a spot on the dancefloor several galaxies away from Ibiza’s

gonzo techno.

There’s a certain amount of effort involved in listening to the 19 tracks included here, but once Plaid have instilled their unique work ethic in your head, your sonic attention span will have been successfully upgraded. Because ‘Double Figure’ is a techno-laced electronica album, rather than a bangin’ compilation of hit singles.

So don’t expect to see Roisin Murphy in finely glossed videos

to the spitting, orchestral cascades of ‘Silversum’, the future fairground funk of ‘Squance’ or the Atari stung ‘Ooh Be Do’. Maybe that’s unreasonable. But oddly brilliant, modern jazz inspired moments like ‘Ti Bom’, ‘Double Figure’ really doesn’t need dance music?s glamour playground. And now we don’t either.

Andre Paine