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Anthony Naples: Body Pill

Even by the internet age’s accelerated standards, Anthony Naples‘ rise through the ranks of the electronic music elite has been a pretty quick affair. Just three years ago, Naples was a club-goer who had grown up in Florida with Miami bass and made his own way to Aphex Twin and early ’90s “intelligent” techno, but he had yet to record a single track of his own. In 2012, he gave his first attempt at production, a shuffling house jacker entitled “Mad Disrespect“, to the guys that ran Brooklyn’s Mr. Saturday Night event, who liked it so much they started a label to put it out, and within 18 months the rising star could count among his discography singles and EPs for respected imprints like Opal Tapes, Rubadub, Trilogy Tapes and Kieran “Four Tet” Hebden’s Text Records. Now Hebden has released Naples’ debut album, Body Pill, which the younger artist originally sent to his friend and mentor as a bunch of tracks intended for release as a “mixtape sort of thing” before Hebden suggested it was good enough to serve as Naples’ debut proper. For all its plus points – and there are many – one can certainly see why Naples didn’t plan on this being his first full-length artistic statement: clocking in at just shy of half an hour, Body Pill feels a little slight, and with most of them finishing before they hit the four-minute mark its eight tracks are largely denied the space and time that most club-focused productions are afforded to hit their stride. But hey, way to go leading with the negatives, right? On the pro side, despite its brevity Body Pill manages to cover a lot of stylistic ground, with cuts often mutating by the time they finish into something of a different genre entirely to the one in which they started: opener “Ris”, for example, spends two minutes drifting in synth-drone innerspace before hitting the accelerator and chugging off on the back of a (Kraut-) rocket, whilst “Abrazo” shifts imperceptibly from lurching tech-step to smooth 4/4 swing, and “Miles”‘ clattering tribal funk polyrhythms segue neatly into an extended outro of squelchy FlyLo-esque cosmic lounge jazz. Also impressive is the range of tones and textures, with the machine sheen largely blurred by a gauzey analog haze that suggests he picked up a few tricks whilst interning at a studio where Daniel (Oneohtrix Point Never) Lopatin was recording one of his ’80s VHS influenced masterworks, but – like the best of his pre-album discography – Body Pill works best when Naples picks a theme and works it into a sweaty mess, as he does on standout “Refugio”, which gives familiar Detroit and Chicago inspired elements a grimy roughing-up and, in the process, reminds us why he’s already considered a peer to nu-school “outsider” house and techno icons like Jamal Moss and Levon Vincent. Short and sweet, then, but when the worst thing you can say about a record is that there just isn’t enough of it, well… that’s really no bad thing.
Body Pill is out now on Text Records; listen to “Refugio” below.

About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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