Mysterious in terms of both name and musical direction, A Ninja Slob Drew Me’s output so far certainly defies easy categorisation. The work of one Daniel James Brown, he is a proponent of the eight-stringed bass guitar which forms the basis for instrumentals and songs which could belong to all manner of different genres. His latest album, ‘[Before/After, Tilt]’ possesses a real cosmopolitan influence with inspiration coming from space, Finland and computer games.
The beginning of the album is a suitably convincing showcase for Brown’s bass playing skills. ‘Valles Maineris’ is propelled around Brown’s rubbery bass lines, hyperactive beats and dramatic percussion. The modern film-noir ‘Waiting For It’ is noticeably subtler but no less effective in its approach. After the moody couplet ‘Cosmic Sound Waves Rule’ and ‘V. 1.1’, Brown has certainly proved his soundtrack credentials but there’s a sense that more is needed; this duly arrives via a series of vocal contributions courtesy of spoken word/hip-hop for ‘Squid Lizard’ and yearning soul for ‘All That You Are’. The instrumental tracks pick up too with the infectious grooves of ‘Nallikari’ followed nicely by the stentorian keyboards of a stately ‘Not I’ and an ultimately rewarding post-rock tribute to obscure Scandinavian TV, ‘Anteeksi, Rakas’
By the end of ‘[Before/After, Tilt]’, you can be forgiven for feeling rather confused by Brown’s view of the world but after a rather same-y start, the album becomes a thoroughly diverse and entertaining listen. Furthermore, although the guest vocals add a necessary fizz to proceedings, Brown proves his worth as both a fine arranger and a virtuoso performer.
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