Strategy Future Rock (Kranky) Release date: May 21, 2007
Curb Your Cynicism is a recurring blogtastic feature in which the music editor pithily enthuses about new releases and reissues he thinks will enhance your life and erode your cynicism about the state of music, circa now.
Strategy (Portland multi-instrumentalist Paul Dickow) is an omnivorous music aficionado whose passions spill into his own creations. As keyboardist for the bands Nudge and Fontanelle, he indulges his predilections for Can-style krautrock and heady/fusiony funk. In his solo guise as Strategy, Dickow forges lush melanges of ambient, dub, techno, house, IDM and even ruffneck ragga (see his contributions to Tigerbeat6's Shockout sublabel).
Back in 2004, Dickow told me in an interview with The Stranger: "The next Strategy CD is called Future Rock. I wanted to have an 'ambient' music that had the propulsion of rockin' dance tracks, soul, dub, rap, etc., so it's kind of like this washy cloud music where buried in the core is various fast rhythm music—some kind of guitar riff, or an electro break, or some other foreign element, and a strong dubbed-out soul component throughout." Three years later, the album's finally available to the public, and Dickow's kept his word.
Future Rock is a mongrel work that will frustrate purists and please those seeking hybrids of the aforementioned genres woven by a producer possessing masterly hands and ears. Strategy daubs the stereo field with diaphanous seagreen and aquamarine tones and fashions cushiony beats that will get you skanking in slow-motion, releasing your inner spliff-tokin', dreadlock-sportin' self. This is not so much Future Rock as pacific dub and tranquil techno gently locked in a ganja-smoke-hazed embrace. (Although "Sunfall [Interlude]" and "I Have to Do This Thing" sound like long-lost outtakes from My Bloody Valentine's Loveless.)
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And you know what? Future Rock is so beautiful, it makes you believe that the expression "one love" isn't some mystical hippie jive, but actually an attainable goal. As Marc Bolan might say were he alive and stoned enough, gang a bong, get it on.