Minotaur Shock: Rinse

Don't be fooled by the modest packaging design that adorns Rinse, as it's in complete contrast to the impeccably crafted music within. Following upon 2001's debut Chiff Chaffs & Willow Warblers, Rinse collects Minotaur Shock's (David Edwards) first two vinyl-only EPs (Bagatelle and Motoring Britain), three unreleased tracks, and the recent “Rockpoolin'” onto an hour-long disc. Commonly cited points of reference for Edwards' music are Boards Of Canada, Aphex Twin, and Fourtet but Minotaur Shock is no pale imitation. Rinse clearly argues that Edwards' music stands alone quite handsomely.

It opens in full-bore Bola mode with the metallic chimes and smooth grooves of “46 Tops” until Edwards mangles the beats in classic Aphex style. Similarly funky bass and drum patterns appear in “Stack On Rat” accompanied by bucolic keyboard touches. “Don't Be A Slave To No Computer” opens in seeming disarray, all electronic flutter and industrial clanging, but laconic hip-hop beats and keyboard melodies emerge to stabilize it, resulting in a hip-hop electronica fusion reminiscent of Alias's strong Muted; the massive beat and voice samples at track's end only further strengthen the similarity. Hip-hop beats grace “The Downs” too, but the sound is radically altered by the warm banks of synths and the sing-song celeste patterns. At ten minutes, “Albert Park Music” is the disc's elegant epic. It develops quickly into a reverberant tapestry of interweaving keyboard lines and Morr Music-styled clicking beats until heavier drums emerge at the halfway mark and intensify the melancholy mood to beautiful effect. Folktronica elements appear most obviously on “Motoring Britain,” where acoustic guitar and glockenspiel patterns are underlaid by fulminating beats, and on “‘Rockpoolin',” where Edwards showers breakbeats and tinkling harpsichords with haunting orchestral samples. The sole vocal track, “Lady Came From Baltic Wharf,” features the enchanting singing of “Sui Said Love” (Louise Davies). Its yearning melody ends the disc gracefully and maintains the high level established throughout. In spite of its patchwork origins, Rinse's judicious sequencing creates an impression of cohesiveness that enriches an already rich collection.

February 2004