Heavy late night beats, shuddering dubstep basslines, ripples of guitar, ethereal female vocals, subtle moments of post rock heaviness and nods to artists such as Massive Attack, Portishead, Death In Vegas and Burial, these are the sounds that form the debut album, Condors, from London based trio Nedry. Originally self released as an internet only recording last year, Condors attracted attention from Monotreme records and has now been re-released to include a CD version.
It’s very easy to get trapped into defining a record as sounding modernist or even futuristic only for cynics to pull out one hundred and one artists that already operate in the same genre. Certainly the references named above, together with Bjork and Four Tet are musical comparisons, but Condors is also undeniably forward thinking, fresh and totally of the moment, but it doesn’t lack the depth that is often associated with such terms.
The album may be relatively short with just eight tracks, one of which the gracefully ambient Four Layers of Pink, only clocks in at a minute and a half, but better to keep things within a tight quality control regime rather than find an album that noodles itself off into shadowy indistinct corners. Condors is an album that stays sharp by delivering tracks such as Shattered. It starts with a heavy ghoulish bass not so far from the seminal Portishead song Strangers before wrathful riffing guitars crank things up for a fight with broken Windowlicker styled drum and bass beats. It definitely has a hint of sounding like an Aphex Twin remix. In fact talking of remixes, we can imagine Nedry providing a neat line in this field of work. Their track Squid Cat Battle could well be what La Roux would sound like if Nedry took Elly Jackson round the corner, had her up against the wall and pressed her buttons roughly. Not all of Condors is aggressive though. For the most part it is enduringly pretty. Tracks like Apples and Pears with its folktronic tempered beats are dreamy, whispy and downright haunting, partly due to the heavenly vocals of the Japanese singer Ayu who brings a flowering femininity to the whole affair.
Condors is a very urban and ultramodern sounding album, full of dark sub bass headphone beauty. It’s not always an easy listen, but is worthy of your concentration. You can order it here.