One could imagine Mike Sniper’s typical day being one of getting up, having a croissant, recording some music onto a pile of C60’s then wandering around Brooklyn handing them out to all and sundry. It’s clearly easy to picture this – as it’s most likely true – he’s an artist so keen to get his material “out there” that the delay of “official” releases seem like an eternity to him. But as a fan, hanging around Coney Island, waiting with my Sony walkman, was never going to be sustainable, so this “official” release comes as a welcome surprise.
Land And Fixed demonstrates a considerable step away from the lo-fi fuzz of his pervious work. Although these aren’t compressed radio friendly bangers, they certainly sound less like they’ve been through a washing machine prior to playback. Yet none of the Blank Dogs something-special-you’ve-stumbled-upon-in-a-charity-shop magic is diminished – every track still feels like a precious and special discovery.
Alongside this increase in fidelity is a corresponding shift in cheerfulness; some tracks emit more shafts of light than previous works have offered in their entirety. ‘Northen Islands’, with its Calypso stylings, could (almost) be playing as you order another Pina Colada from the poolside bar.
He remains the missing link between Joy Division and New Order, but this release shifts him further away from ‘She’s Lost Control’ and onward toward ‘Temptation’. A few days of bullying on a Channel 4 “How clean is your album” reality TV show would no doubt uncover that, beneath the fuzz and grime, lies a pop album waiting to spring out and shake the booty what its mama gave it (ahem).
Whether these beginnings of a smile will alienate his trench-coated shadow-dwelling fans remains to be seen. But this is, without doubt, far less likely to soundtrack paranoid delusional episodes, within which, you are convinced that hooded gang members are waiting to harvest your organs as you sleep. And that’s got to be a good thing for everyone, hasn’t it?