Various Artists - Rapscallions EP on Save You Records

Words by: Sean-Michael Yoder
Posted: 12/12/12 8:42

Compilations, especially of the EP variety, are always such a toss of the dice. The release can either be a thrown together end of the year odds and ends collection from bargain bin and no name artists to pump up those sales numbers or an introduction to some cool new sounds or artists that had no other home but a compilation. The problem is that one scenario is to music what genital mutilation is to sex – serious and permanent aversion therapy. Couple that kind of fear with the even more dismal news that at least half of the latter, more positive, scenario can still turn out to be a big pile of pabulum on the dance floor and the outcome is the equivalent of blinders for a reviewer when it comes to compilations.

The cats that run Save You helped to slice through the anxieties of the profession on the Rapscallions compilation by providing four tunes that don’t suck. While that may seem like a low bar of achievement, considering the lack of ambitions that plague the industry from the top down it may just be noteworthy.

Hypercolour’s Ste Roberts provides two originals and that’s always a good place to start a compilation. “Tram and Pier” is chugging, adult-friendly tech-house with a little edge, courtesy of the warehouse filling kick drum. Sure it’s a low hanging fruit for a producer to bang out a dark mid-tempo house cut to get the right crowd grinding on the dance floor, but isn’t the low hanging fruit also the foundation of much larger advancements? But that’s the problem with a compilation, without a lone artist to guide the musical momentum of a release, the compilation is forced to set its anchor on the strength of the next track to build that advance. Having a second tune on the a-side from Ste Roberts, even if it is a remix, was a smart idea and keeps that momentum rolling.

Week 8” gets the dub techno treatment from Youandewan. It’s simple but works well enough to be passable; the problem with this form is that there is a tendency for the lines between individual compositions to blur. There is some difficulty distinguishing this from, say, an artist like Deadbeat. In its defense, the bass line is nice and very easy to get lost inside of - if that’s the vibe a DJ is looking for, and if a DJ isn’t looking for that vibe maybe he should reconsider his career path.

Following the trend of running the artist’s name together ala Youandewan comes Marc Ashken. Ashken is one of the few artists that has managed to do something with that chunky mid-tempo sound that the less skilled have somehow botched and made into the new version of the late Nineties dreaded epic trance scene – a cookie cutter sound that producers simply need to push play on and press top disk. The track gets a remix from the man-of-the-moment, Kris Wadsworth, who shows a taste for the evil side of the genre with a pulsing bass line, modulated moaning, and a tomahawk chop action snare drum sound.

It was hard to find a release in 2012 that didn’t have Jay Tripwire on it. Most artists wither from that kind of overexposure, whereas Jay seemed to flourish. He doesn’t vary much from his general style of work from this year on this compilation – dubby, organic deep house that is hypnotic like a mofo. It may seem like formula, but in this case, if the

Various Artists
Title: Rapscallions EP
Label: Save You Records

TracklistSte Roberts – Tram and PierSte Roberts – Week 8 (Youandewan remix)Marc Ashken – Feeders (Kris Wadsworth's Red Tape remix)Jay Tripwire – Sad and Beautiful World edit

Our rating: 8.5/10
Various Artists


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