Supercali EP by Ossie on 2020 Vision
Despite a roster and release list that could easily allow them to pick and choose from the tried and trusted pile, 2020 Vision have always had an ear for the newer and less heralded artists to sit alongside its more established names, and in 2012 they bring on board Londoner Ossie. Fresh from releases last year on Lightworks and Hyperdub, he enlists new cohorts Paul Black and Orial, who teamed up with him on recent Somethinksounds EP as Black Orange Juice. What the listener is rewarded with is a quartet of house tracks that not very much to the producer’s r’n’b and classic house origins.
The title track riffs on soft bongos and subtle bassline, giving the vocals a foundation on which to work their magic. Supercali turns out gloriously to be an abbreviation of the Poppins term, and while the male and female vox joust with each other, the chords slowly add colour to proceedings, a modern take on slick 90s house/pop sounds. Lovecrazy follows, again leaning heavily on a distinctive vocal as pads rotate pleasingly behind it, the simplest of constructions wringing out the most effective results. Housedabass eschews vox, but loses none of the EP’s momentum, its retro stabs evoking memories of classics gone by, and using delay and octave changes to contrast moments of light and dark. Closing with a dub of Lovecrazy, this is an excellent release from a producer to keep tabs on.
Growing History by Sir Vinyl Instinct on Itchy Pig Records
Deep house may be the ‘in thing’ of late, but with any buzz genre, the market gets invariably flooded with sub-standard music. Thankfully, that doesn’t stretch across the board, and while some labels may similarly claim to be eclectic, this EP, on Itchy Pig Records, is just one facet of a collective that release everything from lush electronica to funk, hip-hop and bleepy house. One of the characters behind the label, Sir Vinyl Instinct (Leeroy Powell to his mates) has a record box that flirts with most genres in one DJ set, and their latest release takes things deep as the imprint celebrates its first physical release.
Growing History paints with a broad palette, neatly sidestepping any pressure to be up and running at pace. Lush pads and a solid kick usher in stuttering hats as the track emerges slowly into the light, its b-line and chords swirling until a purposeful drop. There’s no urgency to introduce stabs or chunky riffs, instead letting the melody and selective programming do the business as the elements interact naturally and weightlessly. There are two fine remixes from deep house don Moodymanc to support: a Happy Memories Mix that employs the pads and atmospherics while going in a new direction with its low end and layered percs, while the Dark Past Mix blends the original’s poise with bright chords that contrast the shadowy depths.
Riker EP by Simon Baker on FINA
Simon Baker may be a producer that “needs no introduction”, but this is simply because you’d have to have spent the last five years in a padded cell not to have come across his catalogue of modern, expansive house. Releasing on a who’s-who-like list of upfront labels, from Cocoon, 20:20 and Murmur to Leftroom, Infant and 8bit, the London-based artist divides his time between the mixing desk and DJ gigs in Fabric, a residency in Kehakuma in Ibiza and spots in far flung cities in Mexico, Spain and the US. His latest brings him to Fina, the recent-formed venture from Simon Morell, Matt Long and Ralph Lawson. And with the pedigree of some fine quality house before it, this is a worthy edition to the roll of honour.
Riker is another in the long line of Baker’s tracks that is cut from a sophisticated musical cloth yet simply begs to be on the middle of the dancefloor. A Moroder-esque b-line may catch the initial attention, but with a murmuring, looped vocal and side-chained synths shimmering alongside glockenspiel notes and chord hits that slowly elevate the melody into a heady mix full of energy and vigour. On the flip, Geo goes for a more electronic feel with punchy, shunted snare and distorted, delayed vocals that interplay with a walking bassline and chords that happily sit back in the mix, letting the vox take centre stage. There’s also a remix of the title track by Eliphino, who retains the chords but chops up the vocals and slides in stabs and percussive hits that shifts it into jacking house territory. Excellent.