Lory D’s Strange Days series for Numbers has seen the veteran Italian producer bringing his box of tricks to a collection of frazzled acid house tunes that, while owing a lot to the originators of the sound, have moved far beyond the base formula and into a place where they combine a tightly claustrophobic atmosphere with almost overpowering energy. In actual fact, simply labelling the music as acid house is not entirely accurate. Lory D’s influences are far more wide-ranging than that; Hardcore, rave, touches of hip hop and the tones of deep and experimental techno all colour the music to a greater or lesser extent.
What is also evident, going into volume 3, is that Lory D is one of that rare gang of veterans who are still pushing and twisting the boundaries to see how far they can go. There are many artists who, having enjoyed critical or commercial (or – more rarely – both) success, eventually fall into a comfortable niche where the music might tick all the boxes whilst lacking a sense of adventure and forward momentum.
Strange Days Volume 3 presents a pair of stripped down and club ready tunes that follow in the series tradition by keeping away from more commonly taken routes. When I say ‘stripped down’ I don’t mean stark and minimal, for both are pretty busy. Each element, though, fits perfectly within the narrative, complimenting and flattering others with a common purpose. It’s this thickening of ideas and sounds that quickens the pulse.
Both tunes mix the stride of machine music with more organic life, recalling the qualities that made so many of Relief Records release so essential. The similarity to second wave Chicago house, though, doesn’t extend much further than the glue which holds the fabric of the tunes together. This isn’t a work of homage, but a retooling of acid into something far more contemporary.
Grn-HF is the more housey of the two, with its low riding drums playing tag with jelly squirt of the acid bass. It’s the gentle and silvery arpeggios that float above the bass, and climb into the sunset wide pads that make the tune; they add a dreaming haze above the hard work that is getting done below. Grn-HF’s natural home will be in the late, frayed hours before morning. Expansive is an overused adjective (well, by me at least,) but that is what we have here. A huge horizon of groove and texture opening out in front of you.
Acidspix is dirtier, all about the grinding bump with its squawks and snarls. The kicks are tightened up, booting the whine and growl of the ragged riff ahead of it. At first discordant and harsh, small flurries and melodic touches begin to reveal their presence along with the pulse of the tune. The dew-drenched strings that rise for a moment near the end soften the assault slightly, but fall away quickly, lettting the groove have it’s fun. It’s a belter of a start to 2015 for Lory D and Numbers both.