Ssaladd-Ssaladd EP (Activia Benz)

Ssaladd-Ssaladd EP (Activia Benz)

After a few years of inactivity Greg Feldwick, AKA Slugabed, is back with a vengeance. In 2019 he released the career defining Any Attempt to Control the Environment or The Self by Means That Are Either Untested or Untestable, Such as Charms or Spells. This album showed that he was still capable of releasing captivating music that had a dancefloor sensibility whilst being abstract and, at times, absurd. Now, in 2020, Feldwick has released a follow up EP They Exist!!!. This carries on the impressionistic Hip-Hop on Any Attempt… but goes off in a far more experimental direction. Feldwick’s new release, the Ssaladd EP feels like the yang to They Exist!!!.
Ssaladd is a live band project that sees Feldwick on organs, Harrison Bamford on bass and Toby Gale on drums delivering something between 1970s Blaxploitation film scores, smooth jazz and wonky funk. Opening track ‘Holidays’ is dripping in retro cool with one of the catchiest basslines; for three and a half minutes we are transported to a world where the Fender Rhodes organ is kind, corduroy is the only clothing material and the lights are always low. It sets the scene for what is follow perfectly. ‘Sew a Button on That’ continues the motifs from the opener, but things are more sensual. In the past Feldwick might have been shy from expressing his softer, more romantic side, but here he is just going for it as sensual melodies ooze from the speakers.

The wonkiness of Feldwick’s previous work is still here. It must be. It’s a Slugabed release. His love of funky basslines coupled with tight drumming is the order of the day. but the standout moment of every one is the meandering organ – that is where the EP comes into its own. Here Slugabed’s sound has been distilled into a 1970s laidback jazz affair. This refinement is what makes Ssaladd so damn listenable. In the past Feldwick might have got lost on woozy tangents that sounded amazing, but at times lost focus, here he’s channelled his vision into an EP that delivers at every turn.

This might be down to bringing in Bamford and Gale. Their presence, and ultimately involvement, has reined in the more wayward aspects of his solo work, and delivered six songs that demand to be played again and again. Maybe if the EP was an album the meanderings would come back, but as it stands Ssaladd is the most concise thing Feldwick has released and shows that he can play well with others.

Ssaladd EP is out now on Activia Benz.

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