Review: SlowPitch – REPLCMNT

Cheldon Paterson’s first sonic statement as SlowPitch is a brief and enigmatic selection of turntable collages; sudden jumps between sounds and states, inflections of warped vocal samples paranoid whispers, juxtapositions between steady drones and fidgety staccato electronics. When placed in comparison with the more experienced turntable musicians, he’s an interesting one: unlike say, Ghedalia Tazartes and Philip Jeck, who are sweeping and grandiose in their sound selections, Paterson’s palette is considerably sparser. Emphasis is on the turntable as an instrument in itself, rather than as a history-trawling gateway into captured sound.

But some of the more explicit uses of sampling and scratching (such as on “Mind CTRL”) feel incongruent with the EP’s atmosphere (which tends to bend and drone in some sort of warped hallucinatory sedation). Equally, the introduction of a beat into “Mysterious Grip” isn’t adequately explored; it feels like a rather tentative addition to the EP’s closing minutes, as a bizarre flash of regularity in amongst REPLCMNT’s  predominantly loose and ever-shifting behavioural state.

But opener “No Turning Back” exhibits a glimmer of potential worthy of future exploration. Muffled drones murmur beneath thick sheets of vinyl crackle, while slight scratching inflections cause pitches to waver and jerk out of tune – while still a little too heavy-handed in its execution,  Paterson’s command of his instrument feels considerably more tempered and reined in, and such subtle movements slot neatly into the track’s uneasy stasis. The release as a whole feels like a cautious experiment embarked on during the teething stage of Paterson’s new project – if a finished album can be likened to a finished painting on gallery display, REPLCMNT is the canvas on which SlowPitch’s core colour combinations are initially tested.