Having been intrigued by their work up to this point, I've since managed to get hold of their previous two albums, 98's "Snorkelhouse" and 97's "Aug 56". These are apparently rather sought-after, but I can't help but encourage people to join the ranks clamouring to get hold of them (I think they're released on their own label "In Stereo"?). Beautifully arranged and constructed, they're a beguiling mix of hip hop sensibilities and ambient soundscaping. Very lovely things. And, after previous excursions, "Nod" is a return to the territory covered in Snorkelhouse. It's still a progression though, as the intensely-percussive first track, also called "Nod", begins to hint at drum 'n' bass for the first time, building seamlessly over nine minutes, from Point Blank-like footsteps echoing down a corridor to a powerfully restrained barrage of tablas, cymbals and woodblocky drum patterns. The flip side of this 12 features two further tracks, each very different again. "Under the Blue Woods" is darkly ambient, beatless but rhythmic, oppressive in mood, whereas "Shaving The Tiger" is a relatively melodic hip-hop instrumental, closest perhaps to a previous styles.
310 have now devloped a unique voice amongst the legions of downtempo acts, not least due to their idiosyncratic use of chopped vocal samples and acoustic instruments as source material. They often manage to make the sound of an acoustic guitar palatable amidst the electronica and found sound samples - not easy - and their construction skills overall belie their background as experienced engineers for Wu Tang, Tribe, etc. Joseph Dierker and Tim Donovan work by relaying tapes back and forth to one another (Dierker's in Seattle, Donovan in New York), and although traces of this technique surface in the multi-layered arrangements, they're experienced enough to drop layers out of the mix too. Their sense of dynamics is pretty developed, and personally I'm really looking forward to their third album, The Dirty Rope, apparently to be released on Leaf in October. For now, try and get hold of this, and any of their previous efforts.
Great production - real sense of space - organic and industrial flavas on "Blue Words" - true atmosphere and tension. "Shaving the Tiger" is rich and sonically alive - a great fusion of instruments held down by lush beats
Its fine, but not really useable - more for home listening
Personal fave is "Shaving the Tiger" which is a bit more subtle laidback and just nice. "Under Blue Words" is a nice soundscape - kinda spooky man. One for the mix tape
Leaf aside from certain excursions, have built a reputation of flawless innovation and this is no diversion. 310s tracks here, like our fave Prauge Rock EPs continue the journey, "Nod" is a consistent companion, while we let out AA1 & AA2 occasionally. Sometimes our end of night record - anywhere (Disastronaut, Scala/Lift, London/Brighton)
The epic Nod's a slo-slo-slo rippler writhing into a behemoth of tabla-rabbling rhythm invention.