Dino Felipe and Nick Forte bring their respective geektronica pedigrees to Shaggy Black. The hyperactive Felipe is known in these parts as a solo artist and one-half of the freestyle/electro throwback Finesse and Runway, and counts himself part of other obscure combos such as Fukktron and Old Bombs. Like Felipe, the Brooklyn-based Forte (a onetime member of Christmas Decorations) records for Schematic; that label's co-owners, Romulo del Castillo and Josh Kay, encouraged the two to work together, leading to this bristling collaboration on the Brooklyn imprint Soft Abuse.
Judging from prior recordings, Felipe takes processed computerizations to the extreme, programming fried tracks that burn like an Eddie Van Halen solo, while Forte juts his flights of fancy with warm, Eno-like ambiance. The duo's complementary sensibilities yield a disc slightly more accessible than the average IDM affair. "Serafoam" is just that, a searing piece of instrumental fluff that stings like lye as it soothes and cleans. "Anteater," which features live drums from Charles Burst (who also plays in Brooklyn rock band the Occasion), approaches the free jazz of late-period John Coltrane in its frenzied, sped-up mind games.
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Experimental electronic discs frequently leave their listeners in studied awe (as was the case with a complimentary review of Shaggy Black in the Village Voice last month). But several years after the prime of Aphex Twin, it's something of an established genre. Felipe and Forte don't reinvent the wheel on Shaggy Black, but they successfully work through a feverishly inspired exercise.