Mo'Wax – 2001 – 52 minutes
Thoughts of Mo'Wax are usually swiftly succeeded by an image of label helmsman James Lavelle. Like him or loathe him, he is responsible for creating an eclectic, unpredictable springboard for all kinds of music. Earlier this year he took on guitar-fuelled indie trio South, now he offers us another atypical Mo'Wax signing.
Whether you think the album title is obtuse self-aggrandisement or boldly dipping its toe in the pool of faux surreal, try to ignore the clichés. Even though it bows a little to obscure scores and fuzzy electronic hues, it is unmistakably driven by a distinctive rhythm. So it will come as no surprise to discover that Catto is no nouveau bedroom knob-twiddler. He cut his teeth with retro funk freakster's The Soul Destroyers. Armed with the experience of playing in a band and an arsenal of rare 7" singles, Catto's tripped-out meanderings are funk psychosis meets psychedelic shenanigans.
'Fax' is the nightmare soundtrack to a crazy night of excess where you've had enough and can't seem to make it home, while 'Velvet' sounds like Spiritualized possessing T-Rex. 'Metropolis' and 'Scorpio Rising' emulate the endless percussive circle of a late-night stoner jam, and 'Raydio' is a posy of blissful beats and lazy jazz brass.
This collection would probably have benefited if Catto had pushed the hip-hop/funk pedal harder and pulled the 60s-keyboard-sounds hand-brake more frequently; its roller-coaster quality has more lows than highs, and not as many interesting twists. When 'Popcorn Bubble fish' loses momentum what initially comes across as innovative starts to sound like a repetitive scary B-movie soundtrack.
Tracklisting: Rock – Velvet – Fax – Spaghetti – Train – Metropolis – Scorpio Rising – Vibes – Russ Two – Late For Work – Drop Out, Drop In – Raydio – Grumbleweed – Eastern Excursion – Guitar Edit