Rob Hampton's records as DJ Spider tend to conjure grim, even post-apocalyptic places, evoked by murky rhythms and nervous chords and reflected in titles like Contest For Supremacy and Madison Square Dungeon. But even in its darkest moments, small details often give his music warmth, whether it's with a syncopated groove, a jazzy lead melody or a vaguely soothing chord progression. He's rarely explored this side of sound as thoroughly as he does on 1º, his first full release for the Jersey City label Green Village.
You can tell from about four seconds in that this EP is more sensitive than usual for Hampton. "Space Jungle" has a sense of cosmic wonder to it, with blissful pads and drifting keys that could have come from Brian Eno's Apollo: Atmospheres And Soundtracks. "Satsang" strikes a blusier note, with organ and sax solos floating over drowsy chords. Both are underpinned with classic Spider rhythms—woody kicks, staccato basslines, strobing hi-hats. The other two tracks are more sinister, but only a bit. On "Urantia Of Nebadon," a grinding, dissonant melody competes with echo-drenched horns. "Divide & Conquer," with its Charles Manson clip and ominously chanting monks, feels a bit flat compared to the others, but it still has Hampton's singular sense of atmosphere and groove.
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