Machines EP by Hans Berg – Fullbarr
Fullbarr’s latest comes from Swedish Berliner Hans Berg, neatly taking the label in another sidestepped direction from their house catalogue, just as a pattern may have begun to emerge. It’s to Arthur Barr’s credit that their releases over the course of the last couple of years have focussed on what’s caught his ear rather than any particular furrow, which means each EP can be greeted with an anticipation of something new. In this case, Berg’s return to the imprint after his remix of Jan Tenner’s Whatever in late 2011 marks him out as a sonic experimenter not afraid to go for the off-centre, with two cuts that contrast starkly, with the title track getting a trio of attention-grabbing remixes into the bargain.
Machines’ first thirty seconds may fool the listener into thinking they’re experiencing a pleasant, but anaemic techno excursion, but as the warped synth layers fuse and the percussion rasps it shifts from the melodic to the woozy, pushing towards the edges of the comfort zone as notes are nudged away from its axis. Complementing its strange brilliance come remixes from Ed Davenport, who first submerges it in reverb, focussing on the groove and handclaps in his Dub, and partnering that a much tighter, bass-driven rework of unadulterated techno in his Fixation. Dutch producer Immer gives Machines a dubby workout, with punchy percs and restrained melodic path. Closing out the EP is Space Arp, providing the light to Machines’ dark, its relentless chords cascading under a wispy pad, the percs adding colour to a bright, muscular track.
Love On Another EP by Waifs & Strays – Leftroom Limited
Matt Tolfrey’s years of cultured A&R have tuned his brain to filter out the mush, and for his Leftroom Limited offshoot’s latest he’s picked up a full EP from duo Waifs & Strays, having already welcomed them to the Leftroom clan back in 2011 on their Extended Family Part 2 EP. With work on Futureboogie, Hot Creations and Get Physical already under their belts in the last twelve months, Amos Nelson and Richard Beanland have managed to straddle the divide between house, disco and pop, capturing a sound that’s more than simple identikit regurgitation of the music du jour.
Love On Another grasps a piano riff that could be grabbed from 1994, but blends it into a modern arrangement seamlessly, playing it off against revolving synth chords and vox that elevates it into a sun-drenched terrace houser that’s comfortably above its peers without ever overegging the pudding. For A While feels a little more familiar, but the pair once again avoid the cliches of the genre, injecting a groove and keeping a lid on the elements to come up with a track that still oozes blue skies but remains in the memory longer than the competition. Rounding off a solid release is a fantastic remix from Tolfrey and man of the moment Huxley, upping the ante on For A While with beefy percs, concentrating on its low-end power in a remix that full of subtle sonic quirks and detailed programming.