[sic] Magazine

Jubilee Club – Ghost In The Polaroids EP

Disillusioned with ever more service cuts, Brexit, a possible Trump-for-president reality, the rise of global jihad, rampant public xenophobia, continuing sectarian violence, an unimaginable and unending refugee crisis, a web of media lies that’s just impossible to successfully navigate, surveillance rights and – breathe – never more dubious politicians? Based in Rosyth near Edinburgh, producer Craig Penman is the every-man in this regard, yet, under his recent Jubilee Club guise, he’s channelling these thoughts into something productive, most notably the stand-out track on his new four-track EP, Ghost In The Polaroids; “Move Over” duly pits Korg pads against percussive echoes, a funky 100% Silk-style oscillation against a dirty three-chord breakdown. It then builds over a 4×4 kick and arpegiatted synth parts into a proper banger over which Penman’s aggressive spoken-word spits a hot stream of disapproval. He has a heavily accented vocal flow, his music more nuanced despite drawing influence from genre titans such as Four Tet and Pional.

Penman’s love of Burial is clear to the ear too, making particular use of the Londoner’s claustrophobic skitter inter-lain with damaging bass pulses. The intro for “Actions” even briefly samples “Stolen Dog”, before disappearing into resonant organ chords and truly metallic guitar tuning that slices the track wide open. When the thick bassline finally drops here it hits like an alternative soundtrack to that moment in Trainspotting when Renton’s sex-drive “returned with a vengeance”, a glitchy techno in which the overlapping beats bleed together to fill ever synapse with pure frequency. Again Penman’s chewy vocal ties it all together, just as it does on the emotional title track. Opening with NYC sirens and heavily effected hand-claps, it gets heavy in between vocal blasts with scanning arpeggiators, stabbing Wurlitzer and clipped doses of pitch-shifting. Like a well-spoken thug, the track has a clear undercurrent of menace that barely disguises itself: electro fight music that flashes back to Unkle’s landmark Psyence Fiction. A more subtle beast, “Reasons” completes the running order, treating its guitars to sound like sorrowful strings, minimal piano lingering throughout its twinkling six minutes. It comes to a head after buzzing, sawtooth synth work on an extended outro heavily inspired by Nils Frahm, zen scales slipping in and out of throbbing techno ambience. Jubilee Club isn’t out to write an alternate history with Ghost In The Polaroids, but armed with it and an army of impeccable influences at his shoulder, he is prepared to confront the future.

Best track: “Move Over”

~The “Ghost In The Polaroids” EP is released on cassette October 7th 2016 via Ramber Records. Download included.~

Pre-order now at Ramber Records