Perhaps more than any other genre, Electronic music is the domain of the independent mind. From bedroom producers and DJs to pop up record labels there has always been such a strong belief in getting on with it and doing things for yourself that even Indy rock looks positively corporate in comparison. These days that attitude seems to be on the increase and each new week seems to bring a fresh clutch of labels pushing new talent towards us.
Dog In the Night are another of those labels that have appeared out of nowhere with their fingerprints seared off. For all I know they may be some post modernist trick of EMI or Virgin to get themselves a slice of the pie but I doubt it. Their first release (or their second, if you go by the catalogue numbers) was the Detour EP by WV. It was a good record, perhaps more solid than groundbreaking and pitched somewhere between straight Techno and Experimentalist tribal funk. There was enough in it, though, to suggest that Dog In The Night know their stuff, and it had a certain zing that put it squarely up there with the current scuzzy New York vibe. Track it down if you can, it’s more than worth a buy.
This second (or first) record, Under Party by Robert Crash – better known as IFM’s Fran Mela – has a similar starting point to Detour, but falls resolutely into the left field. Similar to Detour, there is much here that has common ground with Lo-Fi experimentalism, but with an added swagger that recalls some of classic Chicago’s darker, more uncompromising moments. Opener Candem Town, for example captures the nightmarish sodium glare of Frankie Knuckles’ Baby Wants To Ride whilst occupying a vastly different psychic space; it’s pace surgically removed, and the occasional acid chirp and murky vocals twisting the mood it becomes a tune for the far side of the party.
Elsewhere the speed is upped and the record dips into genuine – but very dark – House territory. Brike Lane throws trebley synth chords down on you like kids throwing bricks down from a flyover onto oncoming traffic as the percussion clatters along. Toys Slip is a corkscrewing acid number that uses the vocals as a tool for disorientation – a trick used to great effect several times across the record. Vertigo is the quietest number – perhaps surprisingly – it it’s ever so slightly dubby feel. The ricocheting clanks and waves of distortion lending warmth rather than violence even though it carries the elastic funk of Vereker or Funkineven.
Let Disco is probably the stand out, which is probably a difficult thing to argue given the quality of the others. It’s a unfocussed roar of sound tied to a loose groove that fades in and out as the mood takes it. Just as you are beginning to lose it to the strange rhythms the tone alters on the back of maudlin chords before it again grows restless and storms back to where it came. Playful and funky and strangely euphoric, it’s like nothing else on the record. Let Disco indeed.