Spack in the Box Allstars Vol. 1 from Spack in The Box and Cederick Knox quickly establishes itself as one of the most unique albums of 2021. The project features original drumming from YouTube and TikTok star, Spack In The Box (a name inspired by his cerebral palsy) as a solid foundation to build eccentric jazz and psychedelic glitch-beat electronica. The ensemble features members of Squid, Pelican Man and I Am The Morning, and was produced by Cederick Knox and mastered by the magnificent, Katie Tavini.
Tinker’s Horn begins the album and immediately raises the question: “what is this?”. The improvisational fluidity of the track and unusual rhythms make it feel like jazz, but the glitching beats and well-polished production drag it more into the territory of IDM. The warm timbres seem to entice the listener to sit with friends and listen to this album in the summer with a bottle of wine and air filled with smoke. Hazy in its splendour and never within reach, like the indomitable riffing of a conversation, following peacefully through cerebral lanes in an endless labyrinth of connection, with no desire to find a way out. There’s always a sense of drive and rhythm and danceability in the drumming, but it’s never overwhelming, and the arrangement always seems to coalesce nicely with the beat. It’s rich in ideas, but never really feels like an album of songs, more a collection of moments and feelings; like an art film that always changes, but never leaves you wanting dialogue. The singing is heavily processed and in ‘I don’t have a mannequin fetish’ manages to be both disturbing and beautiful, and alien and angelic simultaneously. The album’s heavily delayed and reverb-soaked use of piano adds to this atmosphere of otherworldly serenity. The piano never really seems direct, but rather cascades melody onto the track to soothe the listener. ‘Autumn Leaf’ seems to shift the album into disturbing territory as the strangeness of the collection drifts further into discordance and deliberately places things in an out-of-sync manner. It becomes almost overwhelming, before subsiding. It almost feels like the album as a whole begins as care free and chill fun, and gradually falls into sombre despondence, like the alcohol has hit wrong and it’s time to be alone. ‘Back In The Box (funeral)‘ closes the album, the sax wails out and the drum rolls into a vast emptiness. The cello is beautifully manipulated into a heartbreaking shriek as if a baby bird calls out for its mother. Everything seems to plunge into darkness, fade to black or a curtain call; a fitting end to an album.
Overall, this release finds its charm in its eccentricities as a rare example of a unique album. At times, it could be compared to experimental acts such as White Noise, Yardsss or more modern takes on jazz, but it never really comes across as being anything but it’s own entity.
Spack in the Box Allstars Vol. 1 is out 19 March 2020 on Ceremonial Laptop and Activia Benz (Slugabed’s label).
Global Bass / Folktronica:
Nu Jazz Fusion / Neo-Soul:
Cold Ambient / Emotive Beats:
Reggae / Deep Dub / Jungle:
Glitch / IDM / Leftfield Bass:
Psychedelic / Conscious Hip-Hop:
Prog Metal / Art-Rock:
Review Spack in the Box Allstars Vol. 1 from Spack in The Box and Cederick Knox quickly establishes itself as one of the most unique albums of 2021. The project features original drumming from YouTube and TikTok star, Spack In The Box (a name inspired by his cerebral palsy) as ...