Global Goon: Family Glue
Audio Dregs

Apparently Johnny Hawk (aka Global Goon) roomed with Richard D. James in London in the mid-90s before releasing his 1996 Rephlex debut Goon, which was followed by Cradle of History and then Vatican Nitez. The Aphex Twin influence is still audible on Family Glue, his fourth album, but that's not a complaint. Think of Hawk as a less jaded Aphex, someone for whom the innocent joy of music-making is still very much alive, a quality largely absent from Come To Daddy and drukqs, whatever their other redeeming qualities. Goon is also more straightforward and less self-indulgent than Aphex, as all eleven tracks on this succinct set make their point with dispatch and end before the four-minute mark. With only one exception (the spacey yet unremarkable “Pause”), all songs are up-tempo; anyone looking for sombre melancholia won't find it on Family Glue. A typical Goon track features a propulsive bass and drums combination over which bright synth melodies sing and subtle vocal flavourings appear, and he often incorporates a bucolic synth sound that'll be familiar to Boards of Canada listeners. “Electrostatic Bonj De Lonj” opens the set on a high note with its bright analog synths, beefy bass lines, and laconic but assured drum beats, and the good times continue with “Who Gonched Ya?” Here an intricate, Plaid-styled beat kicks the track into gear accompanied by slithering lead bass lines. “Dead Weird Keks” has a sweet funk-rock vibe, while the organ runs in “Friendship Never Dies” give it a soul-jazz feel; Goon even finds a spot for the by-now familiar 'funky drummer' beat in “Glory B.” Admittedly, Goon's pop-IDM-disco-funk hybrid lacks the moments of brilliance and depth that distinguish the best Aphex tracks, but Hawk makes up for it by distilling the irreverent spirit of Wagon Christ and James's analog sparkle into a jubilant cocktail.

August 2004