Shuttle - Tunnel

Helen Newbery 20/05/2009

Rating: 4/5

Ever a by-word for quality in the electro and cross-over genres, this Ninja Tune release from Boston's Shuttle maintains their reputation as a leading independent label. The title track 'Tunnels' opens with a sample from an unnamed Hollywood horror film: 'Where are we going? Down there? I'm not going down there!', but resolves, after a fashion, into an electro bleeping adventure undercut by a bass of bowel-loosening intensity. There's actually a surprising subtlety on display here, with the enigmatic Shuttle playing with light and shade, although throughout the track, we never lose the air of menace set up at the start.

There's more sampling on second track 'Rotten Guts'. A slightly more up-tempo rap crossover, it's actually somewhat improved by the “instrumental” version, which still uses heavy vocal sampling. Stylistically somewhat reminiscent of label mate Roots Manuva, it's the kind of thing Clint Mansell might have written for a film soundtrack. And there is indeed an almost soundtrack quality to the EP overall. This is reinforced in the final track, a High Rankin remix of 'Tunnel'. It's epic in scope, with the contrasts in the original enhanced and subverted. With a post-industrial feel allied to that by now familiar earth-shattering bass line, it's your soundtrack to apocalyptic meltdown.