at the end of a week which had seen yet more increasingly formulaic electronic house music flood my inbox, this ep on a record label i didn’t know (insanely, given past releases have come from diverse dons ramadanman and bearweasel), and from a pairing with which i was not familiar, came as a breath of fresh air. and i don’t just mean that metaphorically: the four tracks and three remixes which make up jack dixon and robin card’s decade ep for auspicious london imprint take are awash with a grand sense of space; each one falls away bottomless-ly below whilst soaring to lofty, gaseous heights at exactly the same time above. to be reductive but would be to tag it bassy, bubbly, hot flush house, but to do it justice would be to declare it in a realm all its own.
opening with a jumble of staggering beats, rim shots and stumbling hats, ‘adrian’’s drunken rhythm is propped up with lateral synth ripples which add ‘aqueous’ to ‘airy’ as the adjectives of best fit. at this point all is calm, something the breakout synth stabs at the midway point try to betray, but don’t: instead the opposing forces of slow motion and rising e-motion make for a tense cut that manages to be deep as you like without ever being suffocated by an all too humid or claustrophobic atmosphere.
‘alone’ is more restless where skittish 2 step drums and jogging kicks try to keep up with a tunefully whining synth line that aches with the loss of a loved one. it’s the sort of sound that shouldn’t sound nice but, given the heavily melancholic note it strikes so well as it crisply cuts through the bulbous aesthetic overall, it does. add into the mix some refracted underwater female vocals and you’ve something warm but vibrant; organic but synthesised sounding. ‘keith’ provides the most upbeat moment on the ep, and one that again is torn in two by soaring synth lines and buried-deep beat structures. getting lost in the middle with the snappy, excitable snares and snatched vocal infections is like being just below the surface of the sea… look down and it’s dark hues, up and it’s sky blues, both of which also characterise the dubbed out, reverb heavy and echo-tastic closer ‘leave’.
as for the remixes, colo strips out ‘alone’ and holds it forever back as a tantalisingly slow-mo house groove; elphino tweaks ‘keith’ rather than re-rubbing wholesale and james fox imbues ‘leave’ with a sense of funky africanism. dealing in both devilish drum play and moreish melody overall, these are the sort of house, dub and bass fusion records that everyone’s always talking about in these times of de-genrefication, but that few pull off.