Grackle was a complete mystery to me only a few weeks ago. Named after a small black bird I see often around the neighborhood, the name dared me to indulge, inflaming my curiosity. This turned out to be a far-more-than-worthy gamble, as William Burnett (aka Grackle) brings a shitload of personality, energy, and hardened swagger to a corner of the electronic music world often lacking in all of the above.
Ostensibly a moody space disco number, the title track evokes everything from laser-pocked 80’s sci-fi soundtracks to smokey funk bangers, its rhythm deftly negotiating an absolute stampede of bass, yet never once feels any older than Right Now. It’s the score to nighttime escapades in the Grand Canyon on a clear night, possibly in some future dystopia where the desolate home of the Roadrunner is the only solace from the onslaught of modern living. The set-opening Musiccargo remix feels like a primal dance around and through a brush fire, a stomping, clattering frenzy let loose when the crisp air first hits and the wild starts to take over. A 4/4 motorik pulse glides the momentum on rails straight into the main feature before you’re even aware of what’s happening. Afterward, the sparkling skyward view beckons and we’re flat on our backs, feeling the draw of space and the sounds of satellites. The Sombrero Galaxy version draws out the meditative (and frankly psychedelic) aspects of the track, riding through hot aquatic swells bathed in that surface-of-Venus skyline in Blade Runner. Twinkling synth stabs illuminate romantically pleading horn waves, sending shivers up the spine while the martial lockstep percussion wanders off towards a hazy oasis. We’re gently brought back to earth the the tune of splashing water and distant laughter. Finally rounding up this drum-tight selection is an original titled We Are It, feeling like a mysteriously shrouded cousin of some of Gothenburg’s finest club crushers. All buzzing seaside guitars and breathy vocals, snaking their way through wavering key lines and plinking drum taps, it’s 4am, long after the beach party died down. So Grackle leaves us by the salvation of water, after all. Starting out in the middle of the night in the middle of the desert (with possibly a satchel of peyote buttons) has been redefined into something not only desirable, but vital. If you grew up in the same era as I did (reading this, you probably did) – expect to have all your deep pleasure centers massaged over these 23 minutes. Take this trip and call me in the morning.