Review: Todd Osborn – Over and Over (7777 Recordings)


Where Todd Osborn’s first release for Jared Wilson’s 7777 Recordings, last year’s 303/909 12″, promised much with its pair of big, housey tunes, it ultimately never came quite up to snuff. While you can’t fault the ideas at the heart of that record, there was a vague feeling that it stopped short of being as fiery as it could have been; as if the concept had gotten lost somewhere in the production.

Over and Over, though, is a different proposition. Moving away from the purist, 80s inflected house vibe of 303/909 has placed the veteran producer in a place where he can bring other elements to bear. Osborn has a long history of involvement in Drum & Bass so it would seem only natural that he has looked towards that end of the spectrum for influences.

It’s not that he has fused jungle and house together, of course. The results are subtler than that and, really, it’s those sounds from the orbit of D&B that provide the launch pad. Textures from the more explosive end of house, rave, and garage are applied liberally and help to create a strength and depth to the music that, curiously, brings out a similarity of sorts with some of the material label head Wilson has been creating recently.

The two original tracks take differing starting points. Throwdown is closest to 303/909 in spirit but benefits by sounding more fully realised. Ostensibly a straight up house tune, it warps itself with its gleefully ravey touches and vibe. The cheeky ring of the riff, and the grubby bump of the kicks and the bass actually bring a touch of some of Detroit’s lighter moments to it too; Eddie Fowlkes, say, washed over by the thrum of strobes.

Over & Over, though is the highlight of the record. Mainlining the sounds of garage, it crawls in with scratchy synths and a prowling bass before sparking to life with clattering breaks, the bass climbing and angling back on itself. It’s a darkened, claustrophobic track that revels in a heady mix of breathless decadence and the surprisingly pummelling energy that belays the fact the tune barely hits 123 BPM. The whole thing is brought together with a so simple vocal snip that echoes with the track’s sultry chill.

The MRSK remix of Over & Over wisely avoids the original’s shadowy, airless landscape and reinvents it as an acidy banger with a huge, filthy 303 and rising synths that owe more than a little to early Hardfloor. It’s a good move; the tumble-down drums and the honk of the acid line melding well with the fluttering and cinematic tones of the original synths, and drawing out a trancey feel that is occasionally evident elsewhere on the 12″ but upstaged by more upfront touches.

No clips for this one, I’m afraid, but I’m sure Juno or someone will have ’em up.