having first shined a light on joe babylon’s roundabout sounds last year, i’m chuffed to see it going from strength to strength with each release. ahead of what will be the label’s crowning glory to date – a compilation entitled connecting the compass and including tracks from heavyweights like theo, soulphiction, norm talley, baaz and marcellus pittmann due january 2013 – comes this mellow drama ep. and it’s an apt title given the slow burning grooves yet rich atmospheres that permeate throughout.
it’s rising hamburg producer suburb that takes the lead with a down-low, seriously vintage sounding analogue groove. knock-on-wood kicks trudge a firm beat below as grainy pads stretch out in all direction behind. it’s an economical yet efficient track that won’t be rushed, and only after a minute or so do some grey scale claps come into the mix, bringing with them a subtle sense of funk as they ride next to the rustiest of hi hats: its ruff cut, lo-fi deep house for your head and no mistake. the same track gets re-licked by tristen who shoots more melodic light into the mix and has the kicks stand that bit more upright, pinning various percussive elements to each one with the resulting groove doused in plenty of detroit referencing synth based soul.
greek duo moshi moshi contribute the other original, and though equally aged sounding from the off, their track doesn’t so much seem buried deep underground as it does intent on looking to the stars. the distant circling melodies are more hope filled than anything in the a1. underpinned by bouncier, less rigid kicks yet still obscured by nebulous, dusty clouds that seem to hang in the arrangement from start to finish, it, like the ep overall, its superbly subtle and restrained.
as for the remix, roundabout turn to perennially underrated producer rick ‘the godson’ wilhite. true to form, the d town don strips all unnecessary clutter and turns the kick into a mechanical stomp as per many of the cuts on his excellent lp, analogue aquarium, from last year. around it flop the gentlest of dub chords and an atmosphere so thick, heavy, humid and oppressive you couldn’t cut it with anything, let alone a knife. simple yet devastatingly effect and purposeful, it closes out a seriously deep ep.