Red Snapper – Reeled & Skinned (1995)

LPFrontCover1Red Snapper are notable for a pioneering and evolving synthesis of acoustic and electronic sounds that has drawn from avant-garde jazz, funk, dub, post-punk, and hip-hop. Guitarist David Ayers, double bassist Ali Friend, and drummer Richard Thair formed the London-based band in 1994, the year they released their first two EPs, both of which featured Beth Orton as the first of several vocal collaborators. After a third EP, it and the preceding releases were licensed to Warp, which compiled them as Reeled & Skinned (1995). Warp remained Red Snapper’s home for the proper albums Prince Blimey (1996), Making Bones (1998), and Our Aim Is to Satisfy Red Snapper (2000), a period during which the group also thrived as a live act and supported Björk and Massive Attack, among several other artists. After the trio devoted time to separate projects, they returned on Lo Recordings with Red Snapper (2003), a collection of previously unreleased and live material, and Redone (also 2003), a remix set. Performances and outside activities resumed during the ensuing years as Red Snapper recorded less frequently, documented on A Pale Blue Dot (Lo, 2008) and Key (V2, 2011).


The group subsequently toured with a reissued print of the ’70s Senegalese road movie Touki Bouki, a film that enabled a deeper exploration of Afrobeat — one of their enduring inspirations — and formed the basis of Hyena (Lo, 2014). (by by Jason Ankeny)
I got this album, after getting Making Bones and Our Aim Is To Satisfy Red Snapper. I love the acid jazz style of Red Snapper, and the fact that they use live bass and drums. But I was expecting bland techno from this, their first album, but I still had to give it a try. I was very pleasently surprised.
One thing that Making Bones was noted for was its acid jazz roots. Many people argued this saying that “Just because they blow a couple of trombones doesn’t make them acid jazz”. While this is true, they obviosuly haven’t heard Reeled And Skinned. This album shows off the time when Red Snapper was a jazz band, not a techno band. All of the songs have DEEP double bass, excellent drumming, and usually some type of brass. This will definatly satisfy many fans who liked the minor jazz elements in Making Bones.
Most of the songs are instrumental, and MC Det had not yet joined the crew. Beth Orton privides vocals on two tracks.


The song “In Deep” displays her talent as a singer/songwriter, showing off her strong and deep voice; it almost sounds like a song off of a James Bond movie. I would have loved some raps from MC Det to help fight off the usual repetitiveness of some instrumentals, but those instances are very rare. The songs remain fresh, throwing in new rhythms and instruments at every turn.
Fans of Making Bones will immeadiatly recongnize the tune from The Sleepless as “Snapper” – but the song has been majorly changed. MC Det obviously does not appear, but Beth Orton does show up with some background vocals. There is some excellent layed back horn playing on this track.
Every single track is excellent, and it would take too long to go into detail about each one. Lobster is a great way to finish the album, which is a long and beautiful track featuring flutes, horns, and wonderful bass. It is a great way to finish the album.
This first cut by Red Snapper demonstrates their ability as a true acid jazz group. This was before they really discovered what electronic music was, and just about everything is a live instrument. If you need to convince someone that Red Snapper is truly acid jazz, play this album for them. Making Bones is merely a transfusion of electronic music and this style of music.
I can’t reccommend this one enough. (by Robby Raeford)



David Ayers (guitar)
Ali Friend (bass)
Allan Riding (saxophone, flute, melodica)
Richard Thair (drums)
Beth Orton (vocals on 01. + 07.)


01. Snapper 4.48
02. One Legged Low Frequency Guy 5.31
03. Swank 6.16
04. Hot Flush 4.10
05. Cortina 5.08
06. Hot Flush (Sabres Of Paradise Remix) 8.05
07. In Deep 9.28
08. Wesley Don’t Surf 5.00
09. Lobster 10.37

Music composed by David Ayers – Ali Friend – Allan Riding – Richard Thair
except 07. which was co-written by Beth Orton