It's difficult to get a seat at the table of mainstream electronic music. You either need to push for mainstream popularity while trying to keep your dignity intact under the loudest shirt you can find (Norman Cook), sell your soul to the keeper of rubbish eighties samples (check the top ten) or have a legacy with the people that can remember the good old days of rave culture (Chemical Brothers). It seems as if the vast majority of dance music is confined to the people who still go clubbing and the collections of the eclectic. Hot Chip may have been nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, but they didn't win did they?
Strictly speaking, 'Flight 602' isn't a dance record. That would be a lazy way to describe Aim (AKA Andy Turner) and his laid-back, sample driven electronica. It's a genre which exists on the fringe of the mainstream consciousness. Have a word with The Avalanches, Lemon Jelly or even Aphex Twin and it will soon become apparent that while critical praise can be most forthcoming, long-term unit shifting is a little trickier. It's unlikely that 'Flight 602' will be the seminal release to re-address that balance. It's intricate, well put together and at times (like the hauntingly ambient 'Aberdeen') manages to hit the mark between comedown soundtrack and seriously pioneering. It brims with the trip-hop sensibilities of Massive Attack, hushed female vocal and reversed sample, held together with random percussive touches. Likewise, 'Birchwood' sounds like Bentley Rhythm Ace, which for anyone who can remember, is no bad thing at all. Where Aim struggles is with keeping your interest.
Too many tracks here feel like the backing soundtrack for when you have something more important to do. 'Pier 57', named after a holding area for peace protesters during the 2004 Republican conference in New York, tries the well-tested newsreel sample over beats trick, but if anything sounds like a Morcheeba instrumental track. 'Interview' is jazzy but too ambient for it's own good and Smile has far too much going out. Quibbles aside, two-thirds of 'Flight 602' is fantastic bleeps beats and melody that will help to convert anyone who still thinks 'Praise You' is the most sophisticated electronic music they can handle. Aim can easily fill that gap where ambient, uplifting electronic albums would live on your shelf.