Connan Mockasin – Caramel
It’s been a busy period for Erol Alkan’s London-based Phantasy Sound label, with this second LP from New Zealander Connan Mockasin following the release of Daniel Avery’s widely-acclaimed Drone Logic in October. It’s indicative of the adventurousness of the label that the two releases could hardly be more different: where Avery specialises in ornately-wrought techno, Caramel sees Mockasin moving away from the twisted psych of his debut Forever Dolphin Love towards a bizarre blend of soul, funk and downbeat electronica.
Beneath this woozy, soporific mix, Mockasin remains a singer-songwriter at heart, and on highpoints like Nothing Lasts Forever, there’s a tenderness which permeates the tremolo-heavy guitar work and sparse percussion. At other points, the lack of a clear sense of purpose can be frustrating. With his intuitive, idiosyncratic approach to arrangement and composition, however, Mockasin hits upon those moments of intimacy enough to make Caramel a strangely arresting record. [Sam Wiseman]