Recommendations are such a thing. People love to tell other people that they know ‘you’d love this [blank]‘ or that ‘this [blank] is just so you!’ Entire companies make their fortune out of telling you what you just might like (Pandora, last.fm, Amazon’s wild ‘customers who bought this also looked at’ recommendation engine). It seems to be an intrinsic human need, to both establish what you would like by virtue of what you already like and to seek to pinpoint what others might enjoy going on your understanding of their cultural consumption to date. The former activity is a fruitful one. Following cultural trajectories to their natural endpoints is a thoroughly satisfying and usually enlightening procedure. The latter is something like a hellhole pocked with land mines of misdirected advice and totally misguided suggestions. Dangerous territory. The number of times someone has suggested something for me that has been anywhere close to what I might, in a right mind, consider ‘good’ is one dwarfed by the number of times I have found stuff on my own, working off the foundational cultural products I already cherish. It all boils down to the aphorism, ‘I know what I like’. In the self-centred world of cobbling together music, film and book libraries, the reckoning of outsiders is sometimes valuable but overwhelmingly distracting and devastatingly wrong.
Which is why when recommendations come from insiders, people who really know you and not just pretend to know you, people who understand that although you might well give off an impression that you’re all about X type of genre but in reality, prefer to dabble in Y and Z to keep things fresh, who know that chick flicks repulse you but ‘Mean Girls’ is on your ‘Top 10 of All Time’, who know that you do not read women writers, period, but Zadie Smith and Nadine Gordimer are exceptions, they are infinitely more exciting. Even the prospect of the abject failure of the recommendation is tantalising because it is enlivening to have someone who genuinely understands your personal attitude give it a try. Brother J, then, might be the best placed individual on earth to be giving it a shot and with S-Type’s ‘Sweet Vixen’, lodged in our Twitter communications over a month back and laying dormant until now, waiting for what would surely be my rapturous approval, he’s demonstrated that after over three years of blogging, he totally gets what I’m about.
S-Type ticks all the right boxes. The notion that there are variables, criteria that need to be met for a song to resonate with a particular audience, ‘Sweet Vixen’ pushes enough of my buttons that it was always going to win a couple of plays if not total fawning. The same twitchy explosiveness which Hudson Mohawke paid his respects to on ‘Overnight‘ (one of my faves, ever) is mined by S-Type on this tune which comes out of Glasgow (place of musical places) and, although it lets you breathe a couple of seconds where Hudson bursts in on you immediately, gets funkier with a similar palette of chipmunk vocals, plastic drums and serious bass than you would believe. But beyond Hudson and a couple of his electro DJ compadres, the parallels to music I generally like stop there. Instead, it is a vivacity, a thoughtful approach to what appears to be uncontrolled chaos and the steady patience with which 24-year-old S-Type has pulled together a whole host of ideas about synthetic sound and crafted them into a sonic fabric, the whole of which is thicker than the sum of all its disparate parts, that draws me in. ‘Sweet Vixen’ brims with potential from the outset but blossoms slowly, taking its time to reveal the intricacies of S-Type’s skill. If you like: Hudson/real beats/deep grooves/dancing like a maniac/a good time, you might like S-Type, ‘Super Vixen’.
S-Type – Sweet Vixen