Future Rock is the third full length album by Strategy (aka Paul Dickow) and the second on the Kranky label (following three years after Drumsolo's Delight). Whereas that aforementioned album found Dickow creating dub-inflected minimal electronic music that was a bit hit or miss, this newest album branches out into completely different realms, touching on cosmic kraut music, space rock, house, and yes, a bit of minimal dub as well again.
It's like apples and oranges to his previous release, and in addition to creating his own music, Dickow has been busy releasing a slew of eclectic output on his Community Library label. Under development for a long time, Future Rock not only incorporates elements from compositions as old as the year 2000, but features collaborations from a slew of friends (including members of Nudge) as well. The resulting nine tracks and just under an hour of music is easily his best to date, showcasing a sound that's hard to simply slide into any sort of genre categorizations.
While the album does feature a good deal of different styles, it all flows together like a giant collage of styles. "Can't Roll Back" opens the release with what might be one of the poppier moments ever from Dickow, as filtered vocals haze out over grainy electronics and a slurping beat that slowly comes into focus before locking into a hollowed-out, tribal sort of funk rhythm that pulls everything together and tugs the track through to completion (but not before some distant horns, electric piano solos, and jittery electronics trip things out even more). Album-titled "Future Rock" follows, and smooshes together a more dubby rhythm with about ten layers of pulsing synths and sound effects, whil live drums crack and dang near push it onto the dancefloor.
Even when the album veers into more minimal electronic territory, it's definitely not straightforward. "Phantom Powered" dips into a sort of sinister dub-house vibe, but along with the rattles of crushing beats it layers dense washes of filtered voices, analogue synths, and stray glitchery. Without a doubt, one of the finest tracks on the entire release is "Red Screen," an insanely-deconstructed re-working of "Blue Screen" from Nudge's Elaborate Devices For Filtering Crisis. On this version, Dickow takes multiple layers of reverbed vocals and buries them in a swirling haze of filtered washes while compressed beats and electric piano play out underneath. Over the course of almost nine minutes, the track spins into one of the most massive musical head-trips that I've heard in some time. If it isn't cosmic music, then I don't know what is, and the album closes out with another deep-spacer in "I Have To Do This Thing" if the previous track wasn't quite out-there enough.