The first droplets of reverb that slowly saturate the beginning of Future Rock signal the impending stoned-out ride awaiting listeners in this pastiche of hazy, psychedelic music. It’s a ride through an abyss of dub, funk and cut ’n’ paste electronica, and it’s as addictive as it is inventive.
To achieve this altered aural state, Strategy (aka Portland resident Paul Dickow) takes his stash of sound sources—tape loops, field recordings of him and friends playing drums and guitars, his vocoded voice—and tweaks them in such a way as to give the illusion that Strategy is a full band and not a solo project. The result is a combination of styles that sounds reminiscent of Remain in Light-era Talking Heads (minus all the vocals) mixed with the psychedelia of early Krautrock and the laidback beats of downtempo. Dickow also pays homage to dub pioneers like King Tubby by drenching his creations with undulating echoes and heaps of feedback. But the most telling example of his dexterity is on the album’s title track: at just more than nine minutes, it’s a song that’s equal parts heady and dancefloor-friendly.
While it takes a few spins to fully absorb and appreciate, Future Rock is an ambitious and cohesive work. Fully worth the ride. (Ira Sather-Olson)