Released squarely on the heels of the Edge compilation, Slug’s artist album is a fucking delight. The comp had some duff moments but Elemental is, on the other hand, a much more mature journey-based listening experience. Kicking off with a frenzy (Serious Situation, Second Day) it then goes inwards and almost progressive with the delightful, essential Earth From Space, escalating into one hell of a deep peak.
Sluggy Noise is another corker, possibly a Wizzy Noise takeoff and in my opinion way better than anything they’ve put out in recent years (see elsewhere this week). Disco stabs, dynamic runs, and a sort of chase-the-dawn feeling keep this one driving forward in a boisterous way. On The Run has a wonderful, kaleidoscopic melody at the start, which gives way to a breathtakingly intricate midrange that runs and scoops its way along. It’s epic; you’ve got to hear this one to believe it.
Bad Boy has a fantastic break, that holds your attention perfectly while it disappears into almost-silence, before getting your feet seriously bustling with a cracking drop and relentless final run that just builds and builds. How High is a neat one: it’s in that quantized shuffle signature whose name I can never remember (you know, the one Juno Reactor used all the time, that sounds like a car with square wheels), then it drops into 4-4 for a stonking finale.
Artist albums rarely come as accomplished as this one. Nor are they quite so enjoyable, and you can double both those comments for anything coming out in the darker, more hectic strain of psychedelic trance.
I have a feeling this one might get a little overlooked, which is a pity – Slug is a master at his game, and deserves all the attention and respect he can get.