Speedy J – Ginger

Originally Released 21st June 1993. Review originally published April 1st 2007.

Jochem Paap’s contribution to Warp’s “Artificial Intelligence” series, “Ginger” showcased the Dutchman’s less traditionally techno influenced and more melodic take on post-modern dance music. Already feted by sections of the music press due to the patronage of sometime Plastikman Richie Hawtin and his collaboration with Warp’s hip transatlantic doppelganger label Plus 8, Paap’s first release under his ex-DJ moniker was more understated and less Detroit influenced than some of the other material in the field, but for a listener with perseverance it proved a highly rewarding experience. Referencing Carl Craig’s “69” project, the eco ambience of Bioshpere and a marginally more uptempo version of Hawtin’s alter ego, Ginger was a seamless blend of full length pieces and shorter fills exploring the post club experience, highlighting Paap’s skill in producing a body of work that is both highly evocative but genuinely listenable.

As you would expect from Warp, there’s very little here by way of “Traditional” dance music reference points for the uninitiated – take for example the seven minutes plus of the title track, which consists of a number of minimalist overlapping electronic rhythms with little or no apparent direction or desire to reach any kind of meeting point – and the majority of this record follows that non-pattern. In the hands however of the right creative driving forces the genre has an ability to defy convention and entertain whilst provoking thought, and Ginger delivers on all of these fronts. Warming to it’s task, it improves the further in you get, with “Perfect Pitch” adding a more crafted ambient dimension to the Bytes-era sound of The Black Dog and the triumphant electronic valedictory of “Pepper” leading into the staccato Cabaret Voltaire funk-ish closer, “De-Orbit”.

Predictably, the term “Intelligent” rapidly became derisory, however in helping along with a few other artists and labels to rescue ambient music from the hands of bearded Open university graduates, Paap should be warmly congratulated.

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