Salt & Vinegar


"Celebrated journalist and continent-hopping gadabout Philip Sherburne has been busy in the 10 months since his debut recording, the no-holds-barred Lumberjacking appeared on Lan Muzic backed by an Exercise One remix. He showed his sensitive side with a remix of Guillaume and the Coutu Dumonts' 'Les Gans' (Musique Risquée). Thick with melancholic horns, that record earned glowing feedback from the likes of Ewan Pearson, Al Usher, Deetron, Gavin Herlihy, and James Mowbray. Lest anyone think he wears his heart on his sleeve, Philip followed up with an uncompromising slab of anxious, peak-hour mayhem, remixing Peter Van Hoesen's dubby techno monster 'L.O.C.' Now Philip is back with his first proper solo EP. Philip's journalistic activities may have found him branded 'the minimal mouthpiece,' but these three tracks display a range that may come as a surprise. They suggest a unique musical sensibility incorporating elements of house, techno, and more abstract electronica in unusual ways, drawing upon both formal musical training and an autodidactic approach to contemporary electronic production. 'Salt & Vinegar' begins with a flurry of shuffling, Latin-tinged hand drums -- we won't say 'tribal,' but we won't be mad if you do -- and quickly escalates via a rubbery, undulating bass line, anxious bell-tone arpeggios, and insistent stabs that refuse to back down. Droning voices swell deep in the mix; sirens blare as the track gathers mass. Crosscut with switchbacks and hairpin turns, this one's made with the DJ in mind, featuring two drops that are bound to inspire hands-in-air havoc. Wide-eyed and committed to the peak hour, this isn't an invitation to dance: it's a command. With an easygoing skip in its step, 'The Claim' eases off the throttle, opening in a fog of muted voices and rolling analog toms. It soon picks up the pace with emphatic, pumping chords, deep sub-bass, and intertwining synthesizers that lie somewhere between Detroit techno and Thomas Dolby's 'One Of Our Submarines.' Where it leads you is up to you: there's plenty of afterhours bounce for the movers, but just as much bittersweet bliss-out for the dreamers. Philip wraps up with 'Milk & Honey,' which actually began life as the original version of 'Salt & Vinegar.' Call this the 'pre-mix' then. Where 'Salt & Vinegar' is all about clenched intensity, the ever-so-slightly slower 'Milk & Honey' repurposes the same beat for a starry-eyed array of chiming bells and whooshing voices. If the A-side is a gamelan riot, this is a gamelan riot garlanded with flowers, an explosion of gleaming lights scattered over sun-warmed earth. We've long suspected that Philip's a softy at heart, and this muscular-but-delicate fusion of house, techno and IDM proves it."