Goat - Requiem (Rocket Recordings) 2016
In World Music, Goat created one of the most exultant debuts of the decade, a dervish-like rush of colour and sound that you couldn’t help but shake your ass to – in comparison, Requiem is a kick-back-and-contemplate-existence kind of effort, based more in the realm of the spirits than of the senses.
This isn’t a complete overhaul in terms of the core of the collective’s essence – indeed, they remain one of the finest rhythmically-driven musical conquistadors, able to sample from around the globe and seamlessly absorb what they find into their own Scando-primitivist soundscapes – but the dynamics have shifted towards subtlety; “Trouble In The Streets” is a close sibling to Goat’s early works, a balmy jam that fuses West Indian charm and Haight-Ashbury sensibility, yet it never attempts to mimic those fevered heights. Elsewhere, opener “Union Of Sun And Moon” takes the album’s title literally, the wailing vocals now imbued with a reverential air, and “Goatband” is a deeply groovy cut, growing more restless and unpredictable with time, but always keeping a tight grasp on the long, undulating rhythm that keeps it centred.
It’s a smooth album that picks up on the braver stabs of Commune and develops them fully, experimenting with texture and tone in a way that they had hitherto not dared; if World Music harnessed the chaotic power of fire and Commune the steady, sometimes wavering flow of water, this is air – moving imperceptibly and effortlessly, blessed with the strength that only comes with perfect focus.