For most of us 2016 has been a manky quilt patched up with turds and sown together with the purest threads of misery. It has been the King Suck, and the near future doesn’t seem to have much in the looks department when it comes to a noticeable improvement. For DJ Overdose, though, it hasn’t been a bad year at all when it comes to music. A kicker of an EP on Berceuse Heroique, a spiffing cross-job with electro legend DJ Technician, and some demented grooves with Cliff Lothar as The Groupies have been the impressive stand outs in a busy twelve months, and now he delivers another switch-footed change of direction here with Don’t Get Burned.
While Overdose is probably better known right now for his keen sense of electro mayhem, he’s rarely been a purist and its something he takes full advantage of here. While it would be pushing it to describe this as a ghetto house record, the core of the music certainly owes a little something to the genre’s raucous nature. Personally, I always find it an interesting direction to head in. For some reason, despite the massive interest in labels like Dance Mania, we haven’t had much in the way of a ghetto house revival. I suspect that there is something in the explosive beats combined with the nature of so much of its lyrical content which has led producers away from going too far down that road. Certainly, listening to some of those old record does occasionally feel like a document of a very different time.
Not that Overdose goes for the Dance Mania jugular. This isn’t a collection of raw dick-suck tunes, leaning as it does more towards the fiery, furious, house of prime DJ Deeon. Rather, the feel of the DM sound provides a base for a much wider interpretation of house, one that takes influences from all over the place and uses them to infuse the music with something that, despite its punch and heft, renders everything strangely more accessible to outsiders than Overdose’s tight and singular vision sometimes does.
Three of the tracks, reuse the same vocal sample, opening with the excellent jacking energy of Blue Flame which refracts a similar energy to the sort Unknown To The Unknown have been pushing – a sort of very modern take on banging house which pulls at hazy memories of rave and European acid as well as their US forms. It is a proper warehouse tune in the older, better sense of the term. Warehouse seems to have come to mean something cavernous, ponderous, monolithic and quite boring. This isn’t any of those things: it’s a huge, thumping, spiralling epic, coated in imaginary colours, where thick washes of cosmic synths roll away over the concrete beats. It’s exactly what a warehouse tune should be. At least in my demented mind. The other tracks which reuse the sample don’t stray too far from the original but still provide differing feels and moods; Bare Bonus as the name suggests, strips the track down to its most functional parts, turning in a romping, heavy slice of mugging music where the beats take centre stage along with the vox. Work Is Work lightens the shades without removing the intensity, fracturing, and stretching the groove and moving it towards something that carries a kernel of old school electro and dusting it up with some beautifully unhinged melody. This isn’t three remixes, though. Rather, it’s the same tune glimpsed in different light, at different times.
Only Acid Lovely breaks away completely, with a hefty slab of industrialised electro-acid which rolls like a future take on classic Dutch tunage, mixing static charged breaks with swirling acid mayhem. It should just about thaw you out on these frozen winter nights. DJ Overdose finishing the year even higher than he began.