The Squirrels are back. Their second platter comes courtesy of KIT 'N C.L.A.W.S. (say it out loud), the cheekily-named collaborative project from Squirrels On Film co-founder Brian Hock and veteran San Francisco producer Kit Clayton, and just like the label's first record, it's a woozy, wobbly trip designed for dancefloors drifting between dimensions.Savvy techno heads will recognize Kit Clayton's name from his decades of experience at the avant-garde of electronic music. In the late '90s, he and partners Tang Tran and Juan Mendez (now better known as Silent Servant) launched Cytrax, a groundbreaking minimal techno label that paved the way for the clicks 'n cuts sound of the early aughts. His debut album â€” Nek Sanalet, first released in 1999 on Stefan Betke's seminal label ~scape and reissued in 2015 â€” remains one of dub techno's most enduring documents. Meanwhile, Brian Hock moonlights as the drummer for deranged Bay Area post-punk outfit Bronze while recording murky electro-techno excursions as C.L.A.W.S.
Together as Kit 'n C.L.A.W.S., Clayton and Hock's sound signatures merge seamlessly. SOF 02 opens with "Urn of Stilled Sorrows," in which deep, dubby chords are painted against a spectral backdrop of flute and ghastly wind. Soon a chugging mid-tempo beat appears, and the record's magic becomes apparent: it's as atmospheric as it is irresistibly groovy. Next, "Mariners and Masts" showcases a rubbery acid squelch, setting it against a simple-but-unforgettable synthesizer melody. Last but not least is the pure mood of "The Skies Themselves," a deeply affecting haunted jam that eschews beats in favor of undulating, mesmerizing tones.
Squirrels on Film's second record highlights the strange and beautiful mystique of Bay Area electronic music, with much more to come â€” watch this space.