randomNumber: Golden Acre Sleeps
Highpoint Lowlife

Matt Robson christens his randomNumber sound 'Northern Wrongbeat,' an apt handle for his compelling fusion of brooding melancholia and hyperactive beat constructions. The Leeds-based artist exploits contrast more than the average electronic musician, with bright, often euphoric melodies colliding with intricate rhythm structures throughout. That the 47-minute disc teems with complex beat patterns shouldn't surprise (check out the jittery, spasmodic pulses that combust throughout “Sleep,” as well as the slippery groove of fractured drum & bass that underpins carnival melodies in “Troubled Moves”), given Robson's drumming tenure in Hood and years spent playing in Leeds' alternative music scene. Though beat machinery erupts throughout the otherwise placid “In Distant” and crystalline “Non Port,” Robson also realizes that simplicity is often the best strategy of all, as the absence of density in the closer “We'll Let the Idea Sleep, But We Won't Let It Die” makes clear. Elsewhere, a hazy opium aura permeates “Galleries” while a serpentine lurch burrows through crackling starbursts in “Effective Edge.” Perhaps the album's strongest moment arrives when the sonorous tinkle of jubilant piano melodies illuminates melancholic fields of crackling beat clatter in “Autumn Shine.” In a manner that recalls Eddie Symons' recent Bovaflux outing Where There Was Nothing, Robson's Golden Acre Sleeps likewise impresses as a distinguished Highpoint Lowlife debut.

March 2006