Tickling the Dragon’s Tail is the beautifully dense and dubby debut studio release by Pitch Black’s Mike Hodgson. As with his other band, Misled Convoy is heavily influenced by bass culture, but draws equally from ambient, noise and art backgrounds.
As such, the album drifts effortlessly between strands of electronic music, with the cinematic ambience of the opening ‘It’s in Here’ setting the tone for the densely layered ‘Critical Mass’: 12 minutes of quivering bassline, peppered with stray horns and awash in delay and echo.
The sensual, earthy sway of ‘Ring Wraith’ is reminiscent of early ‘Futureproof’ tracks while ‘Replace the Ribbon’’s stripped back and hallucinatory world of smouldering electronica sounds like a tune that has been turned inside out.
For ‘No Ganja required’, Mike collaborated with Greece’s Vlastur, twisting his ‘Ganja Man’ original into an intricately crafted deep space skank, which comes to land on the sparse and haunting soundscape of ‘Pity to destroy something so beautiful’.
‘Leap beneath’’s upbeat stepping rhythm would definitely sit comfortably on the dance floor, while the brooding minimalism of final track ‘Chromosentric’ is designed for the total opposite – immersion into a horizontal trance, thanks to its hypnotizing drone.
Taking things even further down this path, the bonus track for album buyers, ‘Long after the Embers are Cold’ is a 55 minute odyssey into sonic limbo.