TWO LONE SWORDSMEN Tiny Reminders (Warp)
"Tiny Reminders" is the fifth long player by Two Lone Swordsmen, the latest project of former Sabre Of Paradise and style barometer (he can take a degree of the credit for Primal Scream's monumental cultureclash "Screamadelica") Andrew Weatherall. The sound made by Two Lone Swordsmen is a kind of brutal, mechanical techno (one track is even called "Brootle"), all rhythm with precious little dusting of melody. In fact there are moments ("Tiny Reminder No1", "Tiny Reminder No2") when even the rhythm gets junked, leaving little but static and interference. If Campag Velocet's rubber-studded fetish skunk rock could spawn a dance equivalent this would be it, but even so "Tiny Reminders" seems to be hampered by its own template. Jeff Mills' fax machine music plays the same trick to much finer effect, possibly because his pounding tunery is so over the top and littered with the odd sly wink and grin. The sole surprise on "Tiny Reminders" is the penultimate "It's Not The Worst I've Ever Looked Just The Most I've Ever Cared", a slow, jazzy thing that rattles with real drums and bass. Aside from this, it's just too gruelling.TWO LONE SWORDSMEN Further Reminders (Warp)
"Further Reminders" remakes and remodels six compositions from last year's "Tiny Reminders" album. As in their original incarnations most of the nine tracks here are tightly-knotted loops of rhythm, sometimes so impacted in on themselves you have to wait for something like a tell-tale hi-hat line to appear before the process of untangling can begin. And as in their original incarnations most of the nine tracks here aren't actually very good: they might represent state-of-the-art dance music to someone somewhere, but without the wit of the Aphex Twin, Orbital's symphonic, hymnal structures or even Squarepusher's comedy chaos the Two Lone Swordsmen sound fails to transcend its own machine-made roboticity.
There are two moments that top and tail the album when "Further Reminders" becomes something other. Already the finest example of the donor material, Lali Puna's remix of "Its Not The Worst" loosens the cuffs a little and brings along a frozen Nico-style voiceover tripping out the title. And Calexico add a little back-porch Mariachi trumpet and acoustic guitar to their reimagination of "Tiny Reminder No 3", supplying a little variety and human intervention to an album that, elsewhere, desperately lacks these qualities.