Grant – Cranks (Mörk/Lobster Theremin)
Hello faithul readers. I know, I know, I’m an absolute turd. You’ve been waiting over a year for this and that is entirely unacceptable. Excuse #1? I’m a lazy bag of shit. Excuse #2? Honestly, I got a bit tired of writing about music, but that doesn’t mean I slowed down on my audible consumption. Excuse #3? I’m working on a longer piece of writing, and so when I had snippets of time to write in between work and life, I chose that instead. Please forgive me.
So then, in a half-assed attempt to resuscitate this dying slice of digitalia, I shall write about one album each week that I really loved from last year, in my exciting new feature entitled “Catching up with the 2016’s”.
Which swiftly brings me to anonymous producer Grant’s second long-player Cranks. Highlighting a blend of 90’s UK dance music and lo-fi house, with a healthy dose of mood and atmospherics, Grant has released one of the strongest electronic albums of 2016. He’s very adept at quickly building up a song’s inherent pulse and rhythm, and then stripping it all away into a sort of pensive ambiance, before bringing the beat back into the mix again.
Grant immediately draws you into his world from the opening track “Mainstream Belief” and keeps you immersed until he finishes with the excellent “Frame Of Mind”. I feel like I’ve heard all the underlying synth lines, 808 licks, and female vocal hooks before in various drunken hazes of the past, and the effect it creates is one of introspection and nostalgia. This is closed-eyed dance music, where the hazy memories the music evokes is a big part of why it’s so damn effective.
Many of the songs more subdued moments create the same wistful feeling I had when listening to Endtroducing when I was in my early twenties. None of the music on Cranks really sounds like DJ Shadow, but during the quieter moments, my mind keeps returning to him. The closest reference point would be the mid-point of “Mutual Slump” on Endtroducing, when Shadow takes the beat away, allows the song to breathe and his listener to reflect, as the woman says: “I saw Xanadu and all I wanted to was rollerskate”, and then he kicks that beat back in and you’re like “Awwww yeah…”
Grant’s works in a similiar fashion (see “The Limit”), and it’s the restraint and patience that he consistently reveals in his music that makes it so good. That’s not to say that I think the 4/4 moments aren’t equally as strong, I’m just happy he’s skilled at playing to both parts of my psyche — the one stoned and lying on the couch, as well as, the one eternally on the dance floor.
The vocal sample Grant uses at the very start of the album sums it all up perfectly: “Dance music’s not just dance music anymore, it’s got a head now, you can sit down and listen to a lot of good creative albums … but you can still go out and dance and have some fun …” Check and check!
And man, ya gotta love that album cover! Expect more great music from Grant in 2017! See ya next week.