The inimitable Ricardo. Photo credit facebook.com/zookphotographs
Welcome back to your weekly round-up of the best and worst of the new music of the last seven days. This time out we’ve got a pair of minimal heavyweights, a relentless producer who should take a break, big room 'choonz' and some hugely innovative in between sounds, amongst other things.
Steve O’Sullivan and Ricardo Villalobos - Sullric on Mosaic
This is a repress but an essential cop if you missed out first time round. It’s a perfect coming together of two expert producers, with O’Sullivan being an absolute dub techno don and Ricardo being Ricardo. Between them they cook up a brace of brilliantly supple and seductive tracks of stripped back and skeletal rhythm. Bendy synths and scurrying rubber kicks are detailed with spoken word snippets that add to the overall trippiness and they both take you deep down a rabbit hole.
Tim Green - Echo on Cocoon
Tim Green is Cocoon’s banker. The English producer seems to turn out big room tunes for them at a consistent rate. His latest pair, though, are offensively inoffensive melodic house cuts that wallow in plastic melodies and roll on empty grooves. It’s predictable by-numbers stuff that is supposed to heighten emotions and send shivers down the spine but fails to do either.
DJ Central - Li’ud on Help
This is the best house EP we’ve heard in ages. All four cuts bring instant party vibes but in playful, subtle ways. Joy and happiness abounds in the lithe drum programming and cute vocal sample of ‘Hejhej’, ‘Idag’ is a steamier late night brew, ‘BM’ has percolating and rubbery basslines with colourful and trippy melodies and the title track picks up the pace with kinetic drums and another exquisite vocal sample that tugs at the heart strings. Timeless stuff, expertly produced.
Significant Other - Triptan on SPE:C
Berlin based SPE:C is a label that’s dealt in bass and techno with a UK tinge. Even though Significant Other is actually from Brooklyn, that tradition continues here with two tracks of super spacious and deft rhythms that call on dub, bass and techno. Cavernous and cerebral, they are impressive in scale and inventive in execution. Add in the real ambient bliss of third cut ‘Triptan’ and you have a well formed EP.
Eltron - Le Volte on Underthesea
Most annoying about this release is how it’s listed as deep house when it clearly isn’t. Despite aspirations of wateriness in the label name and art work, there’s nothing fluid about the tracks: they’re mixed in a way that make the drums and percussion annoying loud and sharp, which rather detracts from the actually quite funky synth work. Too big for the backroom, not powerful enough for the main room, they get lost somewhere in between. A remix from Basic Soul Unit does inject some genuine grit to ‘La Prima’ which goes someway to rescuing the EP.
Rick Wade - Cognitive Ecstasy on Another
Detroit’s Rick Wade is an undeniably skilled producer, as well as dab hand DJ (see Ibiza Voice podcast).
Turning out tunes for him is as easy as turning out bullshit for Donald Trump. With hundreds of solid if not standout releases to his name, though, you have wonder what he could achieved if he slowed down his rate of release and was more selective with his output. He make no bones about being happy to sell tunes to anyone who will buy them, which is fine, but you cannot help but feel that he’s been coasting for years. All that said, these are far from his most predictable.
YSE Saint Laur’ant - Leathered EP on Vinyl Only
YSE Saint Laur’ant is another producer with a high rate of output, but always brings something different. This one packs in wobbly disco funk designed for sunshine sets, super slow and languid dub disco for those lazy afternoons and stomping disco loops designed to blow up the floor. A steamy and intimate bit of enchanting and worldly dub closes things out with a real sense of cool.