Tuesday, 8 March 2011
RECOMMENDED: Egyptrixx – Bible Eyes [Night Slugs]
Going a long way to justify the hype, Night Slugs had dancefloor anthems coming out of their ears last year. From an outsider’s perspective it was more than pretty impressive to consider that all these tunes - Girl Unit’s ‘IRL’ and ‘Whut,’ Mosca’s sprawling epic ‘Nike’ and ‘Square One,’ Jam City’s ‘Ecstacy Refix’ and Velour’s ‘Booty Slammer’ – stemmed from the same label. Refining that output they’re kicking off a new year with their first artist album - which follows fresh in the wake of their endlessly impressive Allstars Volume 1 compilation released late last year – produced by the most stylistically consistent artist to grace the label to date, Egyptrixx.
The Toronto native picks up where his The Only Way Up EP left off; his sound spreading itself thicker across the full length sized canvas. Having dabbled a lot with noise in various forms - playing in bands as well as being a classically trained pianist – all his experience seems to feed into his current manoeuvres within dance music. You can hear that noisy dissonance in the oozing syths but it’s paired with bright, slow burning melodies and it all manages to come together into one flowing cohesive structure. It’s a subtle, more melancholy vision that he presents across this album, opting for his own manner of depth rather than the outbursts of joy personified by other, more anthemic Night Slugs releases.
Finding a sonic cousin in Ikonika’s debut album, Contact Want Love Have, released on Hyperdub last year – they both share a hyper colour sense of fun and melody - Bible Eyes is a woozy exploration of sound. There are plenty of highlights: ‘Start From The Begining’, ‘Liberation Front’ and ‘Fuji Club’ all show off different facets of Egyptrixx’s sound; the opener is all seasick piano and spaced out percussion and brooding synth-scapes that wouldn’t feel to out of place alongside Oneohtrix Point Never or Knox-Om-Pax. One of the more dance floor leaning tracks ‘Liberation Front’ twists itself into more extreme shapes, while ‘Club Fuji’ is a hard hitting, sub-loaded but spaced out grime-like effort.
There’s a big lean toward the bastardized house direction on this album; the listener is often fed relentless 4x4 kicks broken up with rhythmic ticks and spaced out excursions into slow-mo colourful dubstep. And for the most part Bible Eyes gives off the air of a house album, or a more twisted take on one at least, but at times there’s almost a trance-like quality at work here too, like he decided to chop and screw stadium filling synths from Tiesto, transplanting them into underground 2011.
Competently displaying that both Night Slugs and Egyptrixx can step into the album format with ease – something that I wasn’t sure would be such a smooth transition – Bible Eyes is a fine album that wont bang you over the head with wall to wall bangers. It’ll ease you into a heat wave soaked colourful dimension that’s surprisingly comfortable. Deep and hypnotic without ever retreating up its own bass funnel, there’s still plenty of Night Slug’s trademark bite, it’s just presented across a very stringent sound palette by one of their most talented artists.
Words: James Balf