Dual.A by Daladje on Sideways Recordings
Kent label Sideways may reside far from the madding crowd, but this splendid isolation doesn’t remove them far enough to lose the pulse of the house music scene. What it does allow for is a path that’s not diverted by the capital’s trends, and over the past three years they’ve nurtured a growing list of homegrown talents that’s garnered them attention from some of the scene’s keenest ears. 2012 marks a departure though, with the first of a pair of EPs from Dadadje, a Miami-based producer who, while carrying on the label’s loose m.o. of tracks from across the house music spectrum that centre in on the groove, shows loftier ambitions, musically and geographically.
What You Think You Know opens the trio by combining a wash of reverb-laden elements, which swim around the track’s core chord structure, giving it room to breathe. There’s no wild twists and turns, but nor are they needed as the melody slowly unwinds. The Bottom Of The Sun goes deeper, ploughing a simmering furrow of low-end sub and rides that opens into a jazzy, percussive framework punctuated with echoed fx and disembodied vox. The most energetic of the three, Can’t Be Juxtapose, takes a similar revolving chord pattern as the opener, but african percs, vibrant fx and vocals combine with vim and vigour to once again make a simple arrangement come to life.
Fat Controller EP – Martin Dawson and Glimpse and Alex Jones on Hypercolour
Most of the labels that emit EPs like sweets do little more than dilute the music they seek to publicise, and in the process manage to flood the scene with music that puts off many but the most ardent selectors willing to wade through hundreds of releases a week. Some have, however, earned the right to attack on many fronts, and Hypercolour’s cadre of labels happily release at will and escape this reputational blemish through a combination of sheer quality inventiveness. The main imprint is a case in point, with one release to the next confounding conformity, with the full-on rave of Groove Armada, Mosca’s garagey Eva Mendes EP and Huxley’s soul-drenched Let It Go already pockmarking 2012 as another vintage year.
Adding Martin Dawson, Glimpse and Hypercolour honcho Alex Jones to this list only enhances it, with a track from the regular production duo and a second from Glimpse and Jones. The Fat Controller starts innocently enough, for a few bars at least, before a rasping b-line, slappy rides and distorted male vox grabs it by the balls, letting the Dawson and Glimpse have unashamed fun with the shackles off. A remix from heavyweight Roman Flugel transforms its snarl into a beautiful, meandering cut of airy deep house, its bassline replaced with twisting melodies, clicks and offbeat sonic flourishes. Jones and Glimpse’s Faulty Female clearly bares the former’s penchant for meaty percs and muscular arrangements, but it’s an effective partnership, marrying more submerged vocals and urgent synth notes in a late-night headtwister.
Turn You Out feat Ya Kid K by Matt Tolfrey on Leftroom
When he’s not busy A&Ring one of the UK’s most successful labels, DJing across the globe and lending his skills to the likes of Culprit, Murmur and Crosstown Rebels, Matt Tolfrey even allows himself a stint at the controls of Leftroom. In fact, the last twelve months have seen the most fecund period of his seven-year stint at the helm of the much-loved imprint, with a debut album – Word Of Mouth – on the horizon. Turn You Out is the first sneak preview we get, and it should point to an appetising experience, as he enlists the talents of Technotronic vocalist Ya Kid K for an unadulterated dancefloor cut.
Brimming with energy from the off, the punchy bassline and crisp claps and hats fire Turn You Out straight at the peak time, but as with much of Tolfrey’s work it’s more subtle as it progresses. The vocal may be dominant, but the soft keys and pads take off some of the edge that other producers could’ve easily left, and the result is much more of a changing groove than its opening suggests, not so far removed from a muscular follow-on from his outstanding EP with Kate Simko. This is especially in evidence in the Dub, which strikes a more focussed path, and the Instrumental, which highlights the track’s deft touches with the vocal stripped away.