1999 (Large As Life And Twice As Natural)

Playing it safe is boring. Luckily [a]Skylab[/a] have scant regard for convention....

Playing it safe is boring. Luckily [a]Skylab[/a] have scant regard for convention. They once made an entire album under the influence of LSD, they use instruments like a Chance Music Retonator, and Bird Sound Transrator, and even something seemingly as basic as their line-up presents problems.

With former member [a]Howie B[/a] hanging with [a]U2[/a], they now comprise sometime William Orbit collaborator Mat Ducasse, the silky purr of vocalist Debbie Sanders, and Toshio Nakanishi and Masayuki Kudo of the Major Force hip-hop label. In Japan. So this album was completed thanks to the next-day delivery service of international courier companies.

The result – apart from the flagrant disregard for the maxim that jazz should never ever be teamed with any other musical genre – is dizzyingly eclectic. Because, just as they rework the English language into new shapes in their song titles (‘? Pt 1’, ‘Hypnotika’), so they take tired genres and give them a shiny new lick of experimental cool.

‘IKB/Mothra’ turns trip-hop into bubbling voodoo soul, ‘Fuckable Redhead AKA Nickers Of A Girl’ reclaims guitar and drum solos from muso hell and aligns them to demolition derby Chemical Brothers beats, and ‘Mothers Milk’ shows Groove Armada how to do spectral and slinky chart pop.

[a]Skylab[/a] are not so much ripping up the rule book as using it as confetti at a marriage of disparate sounds. Doing it differently [I]does[/I] work.

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