The newest addition to the Ninja Tune label is the UK-based Grasscut. A duo consisting of award winning composers Andrew Phillips and Marcus O’Dair, Grasscut employ a variety of techniques and samples that, while nothing new, are innovative to their genre to create unique soundscapes (gramophone, organ, stylophone, and double bass? Awesome!) Their debut album 1 Inch 1/2 Mile fits in well with its label-mate brethren in that is just the right mix of experimental for your ears to enjoy without befuddling your brain.
The nine track album begins lucidly with eerie echoing piano and indistinct vocals before cutting to an apt dissonance on single “High Down.” At first, the rhythm comes off a little strange, but halfway through the song, the off key melody starts to grow on you. On “Old Machines,” listeners can hear layers upon layers of synths, drums, bass, keys, and other intangible noises that come together to form a chaotic harmony. Learning to expect the unexpected is a must with this album, especially on songs like “Muppet,” where buzzing synths give way to distorted guitars accompanied by gongs and other garbled electric whirling. Many of the samples on the album come from an indiscernible source, which may be frustrating to some listeners. However, every melody fits in place harmoniously while still maintaining an avant-garde feel.
With a unique concept and driving motivation, it wouldn’t come as a surprise to see this duo take the UK by storm and even blow up here in the States. While 1 Inch 1/2 Mile isn’t the most danceable record, it’s certainly an interesting listen; one in which you’ll find yourself discovering new sounds with every new spin.