David Last
The Push Pull
/the agriculture; 2005/






I wish David Last’s The Push Pull could be on during those moments when I am unable to listen to music; time passes beautifully when it’s on.  It’s antagonizing enough to get your head bobbing involuntarily while also remaining ambient enough to let you be comfortably focused on something else.  All of the sounds on The Push Pull are very interesting and Last constructs them in the funkiest ways possible, but it’s the texture that pleases me the most.  I can tell most IDM acts to hit the road if their songs aren’t well textured, intellectual beats be damned.  Luckily, here that is not an issue—I can hear the metallic surfaces, the plastics, grainy residues, porcelain pings and light woods.  Every sound on The Push Pull has distinct character and that alone keeps the listener intrigued.  The fact that they are elements of orchestrated funk is merely a sweet bonus.

There isn’t a whole lot of good IDM arriving in the promo stacks these days so a release like this is refreshing.  David Last has the sort of attention to microscopic elements that groups like Oval have been championing since the mid 90’s.  With From the Double Gone Chapel Two Lone Swordsmen tried to create a funky record without utilizing the resources that had given them their name, so they resorted to some live drums and guitar.  The Push Pull (while remaining entirely electronic and sampled) is funkier than that album could have ever hoped to be (hey, I still like it).  Downbeat electronic funk is hard to master.  I mean sure, anyone can make it, but only a very small percent of it is actually worth listening to let alone flat out enjoyable.  This CD’s greatest achievement is that it gives off just enough interesting funk (with the odd curveball) to keep a night interesting far after it has reached its peak.

“Secret Society” is a perfect example of this.  With cut up vocal effects and minor (yet melodic) white fuzz the song plays out a micro dancehall beat.  Elsewhere there are moments of microhouse (“Cat-Silver”)—with the requisite dub and IDM noises of course.  All of this has proven The Push Pull to be the most popular release on theAgriculture label, garnering them the most press and critical acclaim.  I hear they are somewhat championing this type of sound and style with all of their artists. 

I’m reaching for that other disc they sent.

 - Andrew Iliadis

/july 1st 2005/