Snow Bone - Remote Viewer EP | Album Review | By Volume

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Snow Bone

Remote Viewer EP

Consistent and at times exciting but overall a distant listen from the veteran producer.

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Author: on January 23, 2014
Lobster Theremin

According to Lobster Theremin’s Bandcamp page, Snow Bone has been weaving through experimental house and techno for nearly a couple of decades now. It’s no wonder then, that the London-based Rob Hare wastes no time setting the scene on his Remote Viewer EP, igniting the title track’s doubletake beat with a flurry of rubbery kicks, X-Files pulses and reluctantly compelled hi-hat work. “Remote Viewer” is not your friend, it’s your driver. Rather than allow you, or encourage you to dance, it forces you to – and you will, for fear of drowning in the quicksand-textured turmoil. Hare drenches as much of the EP as possible in oversaturated caustic exacerbation, though his practice is that of intent and proficiency, something the inaugural Lobster Theremin pressing from Palms Trax knowingly – and proudly – lacked.

The tracks on Remote Viewer aren’t completely uncooperative, though they’re not as DJ-friendly as they can be either; Hare plays hard to get, sparingly surfacing outside of traditional structures, whilst elements are never quite left isolated. As a listener, one might appreciate the sonic fog that never lifts layers as the palette of sounds don’t seem strong enough to stand alone, exposed. Flirtations with noise are at their most obvious on “SHO 5537”, a more subdued affair that counts and clicks through tense percussion knocks and jabs of disintegration until Hare fires a screeching flare piercing through the darkness. After being shaken awake, the suspense is lost and the parts are simply smelted into molten tones. Jared Wilson seems to do that which Hare wouldn’t on the remix, turning it into a loose, limb-shaking jam rinsing 303 and acid – it’s all very much part of the New York house zeitgeist, fettered by context and redeemed by a bed of dulcet chords.

Energetic chords on “Cubic” surely stem from early influences as Hare reels things back to (relative) basics on a more readily approachable house groove, stripping down to the beat, buried bass and a playful melody at one point. This is succeeded by a twist that’s less likely to rejuvenate late night dancefloors opting to rattle them instead. There isn’t a particularly dizzying number of things going on in the general landscape of the track, and the overall EP comes off as if Hare has stretched the ideas to their utmost potential, translating into a lack of satisfaction on the listener’s part. The Remote Viewer EP is consistent, there’s always something on offer, however it’s unfortunate that this piece willingly slots into the larger puzzle without unique characteristics to distinguish it outside of its environment. Of course, taking into account the circumstances of Snow Bone’s debut, that’s the last thing Hare would be worried about, and with such a set of well-crafted tracks, it’s fair to suspect there’s some Tortoise in him too.

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