Springheel Jack Treader

Imagine Sun Ra conducting a big-band jazz orchestra with a score of breakbeats and digital treatments. Well, Treader is almost like that. It doesn't reach the intergalactic heights of Ra, but it is a similarly beautiful blend of noise, melody and rhythm. The tempo is still more or less drum & bass, with occasional excursions into industrial funk and dark ambient. But more than ever, the sound of Springheel Jack is completely detached from the linearity of DJ-oriented dance music and shows the duo moving even more deeply into serious compositional work. Not that they've gone into a completely art-rock direction. Treader is a very physical sounding album, with explosive rhythms, but its intensity hits hardest from the textured layers. The string parts on the opening cut, "Is," are rough like sandpaper, yet bright and lyrical. Detuned to a low rumble, they're used to a similarly distorted effect on "More Stuff No One Saw," taking the track up to a crescendo of darkness. The last few tracks on Treader, which include covers of "My Favourite Things" and "Climb Ev'ry Mountain," lean towards performances of pure, melodic dissonance. (Thirsty Ear)