Leftfield club music from the Future Times boss.
Max D – MANY ANY
Andrew Field-Pickering, who goes by the name Maxmillion Dunbar or Max D, is an easy artist to like. He’s been active for over ten years, and most of what he’s done in that time has an easygoing charm. His DJ sets with Ari Goldman as Beautiful Swimmers show a record digger’s depth without any of the pretension. Future Times, his long-running label, continues to be a source of great music that frequently transcends the dance music scene Field-Pickering is rooted in. He helps to cultivate the small club scene in Washington DC, and releases plenty of music by local artists. And, well, it just seems like it’d be fun to talk to him about Britney Spears and techno. You don’t need to know any of this to appreciate his new album, MANY ANY, but it all shows a strong link to where his style’s freewheeling character comes from.
MANY ANY is a great album for modern listening habits (or put less generously, the age of attention deficit). It opens with two fast, attention-grabbing tracks and the tempo varies greatly thereafter. There’s plenty of tonal and timbre variation, and Field-Pickering seems to draw from a plentiful array of sound sources. At 45 minutes and nine tracks (which includes two field recordings as interludes), it gets right to the point. And, in keeping with his past albums like House Of Woo and Boost, Field-Pickering skilfully draws from house, hip-hop, jazz and other genres to create tracks that aren’t easy to classify.
What to call “I Think Our Souls Are Other People,” the opening track? If you looped the first couple bars you’d think it was happy hardcore. Drop the needle on it halfway, however, and you’d be completely lost, in a great sort of way. An organ swoops over the frenzied rhythm until it eventually engulfs everything and the track slides into soft ambience. The similarly hard-to-place “Many Any Dolo Brush” is a mad 160-BPM beat track that sounds like a jazz drummer jamming on an MPC.
Following a slightly pointless field recording of someone sneezing in a reverberant room, “Fly Around The Room” calms things down a bit, and the music takes on more familiar forms. The title and the guitar part make it seem likely “Shoutout Seefeel” samples the British post rock group, an interesting (and successful) choice for a house track. “Lullabiological” has a little of Theo Parrish’s dusty soul to it, while “Cuz Its The Way,” which closed a recent Beautiful Swimmers DJ mix, is a lush breakbeat roller with the timeless warmth of classic hip-hop.
One of the album’s best features is that, whether it’s freaking out at hardcore tempo or lounging around in sweatpants, the tracks are “inherently buoyant,” to borrow Andy Beta’s words from a review of the last Max D album. That’s maybe because Field-Pickering seems to produce not for dance floor utility but for general listenability. His style is always approachable. There’s only one track, the spongy hip-hop cut “Stik,” that couldn’t be played in a club, but this never feels like the album’s raison d’etre anyway. Like plenty of Field-Pickering’s catalogue, MANY ANY seems excited by the endless possibilities of club music, even as it flips a bird to its rules.