In addition to being on the scene for quite some time and even a stint of dating Bjork and producing a song on her last album Homogenic, Howie B still isn't a really well known name in electronic music. It's not that he hasn't done his fair share of work, though. In addition to Turn The Dark Off, he's since released several albums, including Snatch, the compilation Suck It And See, and a new album under the moniker DaddyLongLegs. He's one of those artists who's all over the place with collaborations and production gigs and working on his own music.
A person so busy no doubt has to have some problems focusing, and if that is indeed the problem, some of it tends to come across in his music. Turn The Dark Off is a mixed bag of sounds that plays off tons of different influences and somehow manages to come out with a style all of it's own. There are touches of hip-hop, jungle, and straight-up techno and house, although none of them are overwhelming and the listener is instead left with a fairly interesting album full of mid-tempo groove.
Things start off with a backward loop of some sort and a funky little beat in "Fizzy In My Mouth/Your Mouth." The track eventually picks up with a sort of warbling beat and a touch of strings that sets things off ever so slightly. It's very "looped" feeling in that a lot of the sounds play over and over again, but because they're laid out in several different orders, it never feels repetitive. Things aren't as interesting on the second track "Hopscotch," but pick up nicely again on the major single from the album "Switch." With a bit of distorted live-sounding drums and jaunty little chimes, the track steps it up a notch, but still remains a little slow for the dancefloor. On "Take Your Parter By The Hand," Howie B turns in the longest track on the disc and works along with Robbie Robertson for the slower, vocal track. The half-whispered, half-sung vocals work well with an almost hip-hop beat laid down behind them and there are some reverbed keyboard chunks thrown in.
In terms of pure fun, the best track on the disc awards goes to "Angels Go Bald Too." Really, the only track with a beat fast enough for the dancefloor, the disc blisters along with a great beat and big blares of horns in all the right places. After two more laid-back numbers, the disc ends with the nicely titled "Butt Meat." It's another track with a deep groove, but it adds in some layered keyboards that work nicely against one another. One of them is completely scuzzed-out keyboard and distorted while the other one sounds like it could be playing the backing to a lounge singer somewhere. The disc is a fairly strong effort and marks Howie B as one to keep an eye on.