Future Classics

Future Classic: Letherette “Last Night On The Planet”

Electronic Beats Hip-Hop

via Ninja Tune: Letherette release their second album for Ninja Tune entitled “Last Night On The Planet”.

Ten tracks deep and running the gamut from hip-hop (featuring raps from Rejjie Snow and Stones Throw’s Pyramid Vritra), to straight-up four-to-the-floor house trax, uptempo ‘80s R&B-inspired dancefloor heaters, and deeper, introspective downtempo moments (blessed by Jed & Lucia of Ubiquity Records).“I’ve always had a fascination with being the last person on the planet – waking up one day and everyone is gone. I think it’s probably linked to watching the film “Quiet Earth” when I was a kid. With the album being called “Last Night On The Planet” I like to consider these tracks individually, each moment for a different person: the smokers, the headphone folk, the dancers etc.”

Collect… Process… Reform – a tried-and-tested approach to modern music production – but very few have connected with this art form in the same way that Andrew Harber and Richard Roberts aka Letherette have in the six years since their first releases via Alexander Nut’s Eglo Records sublabel Ho-Tep in 2010. Indeed the raw quality of the instrumental hip-hop beats that graced “EP” and “EP2” resonated worldwide and the duo found themselves referenced alongside the likes of Knxwledge, Madlib, Dibia$e and Samiyam – mainstays of LA’s burgeoning “beat scene”.

Signing to Ninja Tune in 2012, their debut album “Letherette” dispelled any preconceptions that the duo was a one trick pony, instead highlighting their versatility and ability to traverse bpms and fill dancefloors with quiet panache. Singles ‘After Dawn’ and ‘D&T’ were imbued with the same brash energy and raw spirit that characterised classic late Nineties “French Touch” productions from Thomas Bangalter, Alan Braxe and Roy Davis Jr. on the Roulé label. Similarly, the “Refresh EP” (2015) and ‘Rayon’ in particular drew parallels with vintage Henry Street Records output by Kenny Dope and co.

The new album “Last Night On The Planet” feels more instant and direct than their self-titled debut but the duo’s signature warmth and distinctive swing is present and correct. Opener ‘Momma’ featuring Irish rapper (transplanted to Los Angeles) Rejjie Snow is a classic throwback rap jam, recalling Pete Rock at his finest: unfussy, direct and utterly irresistible. “It’s up there with the fastest tracks I’ve ever written,“ says Andy. “I made it the day before I was in the studio with Rejjie and knew he’d like it.”

Elsewhere, first single ‘Shanel’ (“downsampled and processed through an old rack sampler for that CRUNCH”) nods to Andy and Rich’s love of 80s R&B productions by the late great Kashif (RIP), Rene & Angela and Glenn Jones; ‘Rich & Dan’ harks back to timeless early ‘ette chops; widescreen epic ‘Rubu’ utilises minutely detailed sample reconstruction techniques and subtly nods to footwork and rave euphoria; and uptempo heaters ‘Frugaloo’ and ‘Dog Brush’ were the joyful product of late night one-take jam sessions: “Me and Rich listened to ‘Dog Brush’ about 40 times on repeat after we made it – it always feels more instant and natural when tracks come together quickly.”

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