Motion Skatepark, Bristol
The primary hype surrounding Groove Armada’s latest album, Black Light, is the promise of the darkest reinvention of sound yet from these already interstellar producers. And immediately after entering their ill lit arena, surrounded by the ominous towering ramps that make up Motion’s BMX area (and never ceasing to be amused at the intoxicated cougars trying to climb up them), the persistent juxtaposition of dark and light was impossible to ignore.
This is a group that produced At The River remember, that song that winds up on every chill out album that’s ever released ever ever, the same song that post-modern pornographers Marks And Spencer use to sleaze up their strawberry cheesecake. As lovely as it is, and as delicious as that cheesecake probably is baby, it’s the furthest thing imaginable from ‘dark’. So as the small, but significant lights dance around, like ghosts looking for pac-man in a cool new game with transitions, the crowd seemed ready for the sound to follow suit.
For the most part, I wasn’t at all disappointed, and the crowd as a collective mass of grooving bodies, awkward cougars and all shook the fuck out of Bristol clearly wasn’t unimpressed either. The new songs, many of which fronted by Saint Saviour sounded close to glorious and nothing like whatever preconception you may have had of Groove Armada. Imagine the combination of heaven and hell that Royksopp explored earlier this year with Robyn, except there is a still a faint but oh so randy smell of funk that only the founders of Lovebox could exude. Of course, old funky classics like Chicago sounded as timeless as ever, even in this new, errm, non-light.
What bothered me, only ever so slightly, was the sound quality. Tom and Andy’s work has always been something so sonically rich that it needs to be heard through perfect audio devices otherwise a lot of seriously dynamic shit is lost. So for a few songs I had no idea what was going on and that most definitely isn’t the e-talking. A shame, but from what I did hear, it only strengthened my desire to hear more of the new, darker, deeper, take your hand and smile as we go through rabbit holes of funk and beats sound that Groove Armada have kept us waiting for.
Head over to their website for a taste of this new sound, Warsaw is available to download for free