How Big How Blue How Beautiful
What do dance-music pioneers do when they hit middle age and their clubbing years are well behind them?
Andy Turner and Ed Handley have certainly paid their dues to the dance world. Firstly as two constituent parts of trail-blazing techno collective Black Dog and latterly under the Plaid handle, they have been turning out rarefied, superior examples of what Americans like to call Intelligent Dance Music for more than 25 years.
Yet the pair have been beating a tactical retreat from the dance floor for some time – their last album, 2011’s Scintilli, boasted just one throbbing floor-filler in Unbank – and Reachy Prints, their bizarrely titled seventh offering, is a collection of nuanced and layered electronic-music compositions that appear to be programmed entirely for domestic, headphones consumption.
This is no hardship, as Plaid are more than capable of whisking willing listeners on a cosmic armchair trip. Hawkmoth is a wash of warm, analogue synths likely to trigger rave flashbacks; Slam hums, thrums and will put listeners of a certain age in mind of Jean-Michel Jarre; Tether teems with ominous soundscapes and decidedly cinematic menace.
This figures, as in recent years Turner and Handley have made the most of their proclivity for cinematic sounds and become increasingly involved in movie soundtracks. Why not? After all, if you no longer feel up to clubbing, you can always go to the pictures…