Clash has the global exclusive preview stream of ‘Reachy Prints’, the new album from Warp duo Plaid. Listen below, and then read our interview with Andy and Ed…
This stream originally premiered on the free-to-download Clash App, more details here.
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No questions asked: Plaid are veterans. Now approaching their silver anniversary, Andy Turner and Ed Handley’s recording history stretches back to ’89 with their first barks as The Black Dog. But as Plaid, a refusal to yield to trends has earned them, alongside Richard D. James and Autechre, cult-like status within the gilded pages of Warp’s catalogue.
Now soaking up the sunshine in Muswell Hill, dog in Andy’s lap, they’re dissecting the changes that they’ve witnessed in music consumption. Says Andy: “Of course, in the past you’d go into a shop and build up a relationship with one of the sales people. They’d get to know what you like and don’t like. It’s a very subtle, complicated thing, taste. We’re not quite there yet but, like Netflix, you could create algorithms that pre-empt your taste...”
Putting to one side the seismic shifts that have taken place within electronic music since the late-’80s, the pair’s priority now is not repeating themselves. “It’s sometimes automatic to do the thing you’ve always done, and maybe expressed too many times,” notes Ed. “Sometimes we can be hypermelodic, but you have to pull yourself back because it can become a bit sickly, to have a whole album full of dancey, happy music.”
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It’s escapist in the positive sense. It's fighting music...
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‘Reachy Prints’ is yet another milestone – the freshness of their latest album’s tracks confirms that they’ve achieved their goal. “It’s escapist in the positive sense,” Andy explains. “It’s fighting music. Certainly in the early days dance music had a fighting element to it; we’re fighting against our oppressors, our… landlords!”
“And we’re just trying to be ourselves,” adds Ed. “Limiting ourselves in the right sense, and using interesting synthesis.”
On tracks like ‘Slam’, time signatures run into each other like cascading water droplets, and synth patterns playfully tessellate. Forever inquisitive and exploratory with new technologies, Plaid are a duo who’ve proven time and time again that synthesised instruments aren’t cold to the touch. Which is like Björk (whom the duo have previously produced for) once shrewdly said: “You can’t blame the computer. If there’s no soul in the music, it’s because nobody put it there.”
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Words: Felicity Martin
Photography: Eva Vermandel