Plaid say: the kids aren't alright.
Fêted by Thom Yorke, a favourite of demonic media satirist Chris Morris, and still releasing a
handful of fascinating releases every month, now more than ever, the Warp Records insignia stands
as a badge of quality. But while names like Autechre and Aphex Twin are the ones constantly
being dropped, the influence of long-time Warp stalwarts Plaid should not be underestimated.
Crouched behind a G3 Apple Mac and a bank of electronic gadgets, it’s quickly clear that
Ed Handley and Andy Turner – the two long-serving boffins that comprise Plaid – aren’t demonic showmen cast from the mould of Richard James or Squarepusher. But tonight, as they preview tracks from a forthcoming, currently unnamed album, it’s clear you ignore them at your peril.
All spindly clockwork clicks, playful, shuddering electro-bass, and perversely-rendered nursery rhyme melodies, these as-yet-anonymous compositions sound like an irreverent raspberry in the face of techno’s cheerless rigidity. But beware – because under Plaid’s simple exterior, there’s a disquieting, edgy discord, buried like razorblades in cotton wool.
Ideally, for the first half hour, you’d choose to appreciate Plaid from the comfort of a bean bag, while those monstrous hermaphrodites from Chris Cunningham’s ‘Windowlicker’ video poured you drinks, peeled you grapes, and massaged your feet. But as the set progresses, Plaid adapt their head music to suit the dancefloor, compressing the beats and employing jerky stabs of electro like acutely applied acupuncture needles. It’s the
sound of dark scenes inside
the playpen. Plaid say: the kids aren’t alright.