Bill Converse – 7 of 9 (Texas Recording Underground)
Converse is a veteran of long-standing in the Texan electronic scene but over the last year his name has begun to crop up in other places. Good thing too, because while Converse hasn’t exactly been a secret, it’s about time he started getting some real exposure. His first EP, the deconstructed and twisting lunacy of Warehouse Invocations on Dark Entries was a special debut which pulled apart acid, house, and techno only to remount with strange, lopsided grooves. Even better, his album for the same label took something of Hieroglyphic Being’s visionary approach to electronica and dipped it into a vat of synthy, experimental goodness.
He appears here on TX Connect’s young TRU label, turning in a sound that, while loosely connected with his previous releases, is both more open and wide ranging. While the overt coupling of experimentalism and convention takes a bit more of a back seat here, it actually works to the record’s advantage. What we have are a pair of deepened and eternally morphing prowlers which push and pull a more obviously house feel whilst remaining very much on the outside of what’s going on in the larger scene.
Here and there are touches of the sort of grainy otherworld which producers like Vester Koza have made their own, a sort of parallel dimension where everything lies at a tangent to where it should. Even so, both tracks refuse to enter into pure aesthetics and a subtly muscular energy helps propel them as it bleeds into the grooves. While 7 Of 9 itself unfurls with a loose, funky vibe which dips into brooding netherworld of swirling colours, it’s Ahead which really forces you to take notice with its scruffy evocation of exhausted, daybreak joy. A warm, slow-moving shuffler, it recalls something of the wonderfully frisky house Anthony Naples used to make while getting your hands waving with its lazy vitality. Delicious, sultry, and life affirming.
New York Transit Authority – 4DC (Lobster Boy)
Mensah Anderson’s work has, in the best tradition of British electronic music, made no short work of chewing up the distinctions and borders between genres. While his productions under his own name cuts between dubstep, bass, and more hip hop sounds, his releases as New York Track Authority have taken that nous and used it to inform a sound which takes in house and electro. He appears here for the fourth time on Lobster Boy with a double-headed blast.
The title track itself is a cracker. 4DC is a straight up and effective dance floor destroyer built of the purest garage beats and controlled by the insistence of the ringing, playground simple tones of the melody. There isn’t much to it; there doesn’t it need to be. It goes straight in for the kill and pulls off the hit with style and panache. The B side, Two Know feels less successful after 4DC’s compressed fun, stretching out a sultry house theme across 8 minutes, and playing a bit fast and loose with holding your interest. Still, it does manage to hold on, mostly by way of the deep, dropping bass and a fine breakdown which washes everything down with some tingling, energizing, and much needed warmth. Not a bad track in any way, but one that suffers from pedestrianizing the groove when it should have been let loose on the autobahn.