VEX RUFFIN: CONVEYOR

April 14th, 2017 | Album reviews

VEX RUFFIN
Conveyor
Stones Throw

This is described as the “definitive statement” from Stones Throw’s resolutely iconoclastic Vex Ruffin, and that’s pretty correct: Conveyor is a bleary blurry loop-the-loop that loads its title with meaning and delivers without delay or damage, just like an optimally functioning conveyor should. It’s got a very 1981 NYC vibe — Fab Five Freddy is even on the standout “The Balance,” which comes stumbling into the too-bright dawn after a night in Liquid Liquid’s “Cavern” — but it’s got a lot of 1979 UK in it, too, like the alien bass of Jah Wobble on Metal Box and the warped tape manipulations of This Heat. (The dessicated dub of Keith Hudson isn’t far away, either.) Here Vex finds a perfect space for his spaced-out vocals and his delirious dub dynamic and sample selection: Conveyor was born between dusk and dawn, when exhaustion exaggerates every sound and you feel like the last person on the planet with a light still on. The final track honors the title nicely: a conveyor moves you, a conveyor communicates meaning, and a conveyor runs until work is finally done.

—Chris Ziegler