sure, everyone’s always on about the authentic and connoisseur imprints in detroit, amsterdam and berlin which are at the vanguard of the day’s house and techno scene, but london has them too you know. uzuri is one such example, with the likes of cassy and anton zap defining their assured output to date. it’s output that goes at its own pace, delves deeper than most and is built on a rich heritage of vintage d and c town sounds, but which also manages to look to the future. exactly fitting that mould is the triumvirate of american production talents that is pittsburgh track authority (featuring the vociferously vocal tom pipecock of the infinitestatemachine blog) who here turn in a sumptuously seductive selection of live and improvised sounding jams. the temptation is to label them retroistic, but that’s likely just down to the fact that you don’t often come across such considered underground music in the age of disposable digital production.
‘duskshaped’ comes on with all the instrumental funk and soul of a josé james record: there are multiple key and bass lines which roll freely from start to finish, always with an unpredictable fluidity. big claps and scuffy kicks power the track along, and you could as well be in the audience at a live jazz bar as you could be at home listening to a modern day house label: it’s classy stuff. a little perkier, ‘verticalimpact’ certainly stands more upright than the opener, but trudges along on a squelchy and slo-mo acid line which crawls so immovably at its own lethargic pace that it inevitably has you yearning for it to go faster. but it never does. in stubbornly holding back, there is a tension which keeps you locked because, as they say, the thrill of the catch is in the chase, and this is a looong chase.
imbued with a parrish-esque afro funk, next track ‘bloodlands’ again has itself stretched in all directions, with rippling chords dripping over a barely rotating sub bass and buried-in-the-mix percussion. contributing to the languorousness is a gently rising and falling male chanting somewhere off in the distance. the whole arrangement swells effortlessly forwards and backwards like a midnight wave breaking on a moonlit beach, and it’s some of the most sensuous house you are likely to have heard in a long while. ’77b’, meanwhile, taps a tantalisingly slow pace to start, with a muffled, flat bass pattern injecting a subtle sense of crescendo. of course, you’re forever riding on the crest father than falling down the other side, with cheeky, suggestive little chords brightening the whole simmering arrangement at various intervals. the selective placement of some swooning strings are the icing on the cake; the thing that have you boil over into emotive whimpers of ‘oooo yeah’, even though the track itself stays well and truly restrained.
all four efforts here are masterfully balanced – just enough to have that little something that makes you want to hear them all over again, but nowhere near too much as for anything to get lost or crowded out in the mix: every detail is important, every detail does a job; every detailed has clearly been fawned over and coming together they make for some of the most powerful and well appointed slow burners you could wish for.
this is where i, kristan j caryl, push my own house and techno agenda in an often indulgent way. it's an outlet which allows me to behave like that where the other, more professional, on and off-line mags i work for do not.