Sunday, 17 August 2014

Track Of The Day: Trucker - 'Radioactive Stars'

It didn't take long for former Babybird man Stephen Jones to follow the outstanding and immersive 'Ambition Expired' with another album. Just over a week in fact. However, this one doesn't bear his name, neither is it another instrumental set of atmospheric pieces from his Black Reindeer project. This is his latest alter-ego, Trucker. The beautifully understated 'Radioactive Stars' is pretty much the only track of its kind on 'Songs To Truck To', a spacious and euphoric electro lullaby that glows sweetly. It feels slightly out of place amongst the other pieces here, and could probably be considered relatively normal compared to what surrounds it. The remainder of the 72 minute drive provides us with some of Jones' strangest work to date, heavily electronic and themed entirely around trucking. These ideas must come from a part of his brain that other people don't have.

As well as intergalactic ambient techno, nocturnal garage grooves, warped hip hop, spacey synth ballads, and dreamy piano laments, there's the acid house trucking anthem 'I Like To Truck', and the genuinely sinister 'Something's In The Back Of My Truck' which conjures up all sorts of dark images, as well as capturing the heavy weariness of long distance overnight driving. The spoken word bit at the end is particularly exceptionally twisted. All vocals are delivered in a seedy deep Southern USA accent, highlighting Jones' ability to slip into the roles of convincing characters. Amongst many other diverse and weird things, we get the acid electronica of the spiralling 'Motherfuckingtruckerfucker' and the unsettling varispeed vocals on 'I Dream About My Truck When I'm Driving Her', describing a scene in a motel room, sticking "duct tape newspaper to the window" and keeping "a gun under my pillow, next to a picture of my third wife". It's moments like these that make you wonder if Jones leaves his windows open whilst recording the bizarre vocals and creepy spoken word segments. What must his neighbours think? Only a true maverick like Jones could create something this fucked-up and brilliant.

And just as I finish writing this article, I discover that he's already put out another release, this one a sprawling triple album entitled 'Dream Walking'. Not a Trucker album though, but a soundtrack to a forthcoming movie. Those who have stuck with him since the Babybird days are certainly reaping the rewards.

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