Philip Sherburne: Salt & Vinegar EP
Lan Muzic

Celebrated journalist Philip Sherburne needs no introduction in electronic circles but it may be news to some that he's also been surreptitiously establishing himself as a producer of note, the latest example of which arrives in the form of a solid three-tracker on Lan Muzic. Following the well-received coming-out “Lumberjacking” and remixes of Guillaume and the Coutu Dumonts' “Les Gans” (Musique Risquée) and Peter Van Hoesen's “L.O.C.” (Lan Muzic), Salt & Vinegar constitutes Sherburne's formal EP debut.

“Salt & Vinegar” starts out in Africa with a tribal pulse of vocal hoots, shakers, and hand drums leading the charge before morphing into a funky groover kicked into shape by a lovely bass line. More changes rapidly ensue with Sherburne winding the track into a peak-time raver where interlocking keyboard patterns help stoke the building Dionysian frenzy. After a drop-out and spacey interjections, the rhythm returns for the semi-controlled coda. The spacey vibe returns in “The Claim” where Sherburne overlays a bubbly skip with woozy electronic accents and stabbing syncopations, and then cranks up the heat with a steamy house swing that's beautiful to behold. Echoes of Kraftwerk and Detroit techno come to the fore during the tune's second half, particularly in the simple but potent synth melodies that burrow their way into your skull. At EP's end, Sherburne first sprinkles “Milk & Honey” (which actually started out as an original version of “Salt & Vinegar”) with a heavier coating of gamelan flavour, then shines the original's intricate keyboard patterns to a gleam while also intensifying the tune's trance-like delirium. Salt & Vinegar is so accomplished, we can't help but wonder what an album's worth of Sherburne material might sound like.

July 2008