The Mole - As High As The Sky

The Mole - As High As The Sky

12th Feb 2009

I discovered the debut album by Canadian Colin de la Plante aka The Mole in (at least) one end of year best-of list. Originally released in June 2008 it somehow slipped me by, which is surprising because I recently discovered that RA gave it a five star rating at the time, and I usually make an effort to check out the well-received releases!

The background: back in 2005, The Mole cut his teeth with The Modern Deep Left Quartet, a deep house ensemble. When the band split, The Mole focussed on his solo productions, while the other band members later hooked up with Mathew Jonson to form Cobblestone Jazz. And it's on Jonson's Wagon Repair label the album was released.

The music: a crossover of minimal techno and deep house.

After the quirky upbeat intro, we're hit with what sounds like an update to the Knight Rider theme tune in the form of Still In My Corner. With an insistent, underlying beat, it really hits the mark and declares the album's serious intentions. Also, it's this robotic beat that underpins most of the tracks on the album.

Best moment comes early with Alice, You Need Him sporting a gorgeous, plinky-plonky, hypnotic beat which manages to stretch the full seven minutes of the track yet never outstays it's welcome. I'm sure it would sound great in a DJ set. It's not all full-on insistent beats though, there's plenty of subtlety, with variations in texture and tone. Baby You're The One uses a nice cut-up female vocal sample (somewhat reminiscent of The Field's The Heart Beats So Fast) to great effect, while another vocal snippet on Like The Way uses repetition to great effect, mirroring the beat.

It's a really listenable album with the pace changing between downtempo techno to disco-flavoured deep house. The outro, tacked onto last track When It Tastes So Good You Deserve It closes proceedings as we started: quirkily.

8/10 | 12 listens