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  • Filed under: Review
  • 07/30/2012

Andy Sangria Kill The Precedent

By now, anyone with even a passing acquaintance with Amanda Brown's dancefloor-focused Not Not Fun offshoot 100% Silk should have a fairly good idea of what to expect from the label. That's far from a criticism; few electronic imprints have appeared in recent years with such a clearly defined, unique, and—above all—likeable modus operandi. It's dance music reworked by lo-fi experimenters; it's classic Chicago house and disco, stolen from the dancefloor and re-edited with a hazy, cut-and-paste methodology, all orchestrated with the same analog-methods-in-a-digital-world approach that has always made interaction with Not Not Fun such a likeable experience. Kill The Precedent is the latest in a series of casette releases from the label, and the debut offering from Sacramento producer Andy Sangria, presented as two sides of unlabelled, partially mixed audio (although track names can be found on his Bandcamp page).

In compositional terms, Andy Sangria is less experimental with his classic dancefloor influences than some of his 100% Silk peers; the seven tracks that make up the album are all, at least structurally, deeply indebted to classic disco and house of the late '80s and early '90s—each rolling along on a 303-style bassline and rattling drum-machine pattern, interjected by funk samples and vaguely acid-sounding synths. On paper at least, tracks like "Sanctuary of Love," which turns up roughly halfway through the tape's second side, could easily be some forgotten Mr. Fingers cut from '86, long abandoned on the studio floor.

There's more to the release than just straight disco-house nostalgia though; while Kill The Precedent is retro in its composition, the whole piece is transformed by the subtle, disorientating lo-fi aesthetic of its production. Every instrument sounds—and we mean this in an oddly complimentary way—slightly wrong. The synths are masked in rolling filters that accentuate the warped quality of the cassette format, the vocal samples—particularly on the eponymous opening track—are pitched in a way that makes them sound strangely menacing, and the drum machines feel as though they're on the verge of losing the beat at any moment. The effect of this lo-fi sheen is a bizarre sort of psychedelic detachment from the sound; it's akin to listening to a neighbor's party through the wall, sitting in the dark bathed in the muted tones of some old Frankie Knuckles tune, desperately trying to conjure images of what the party guests might look like. It's certainly dance music, but the listener is left with the sensation that they're not the one who's supposed to be dancing to it.

Overall, Kill The Precedent isn't the most groundbreaking thing 100% Silk has released—for all its woozy, psych charm, there's nothing unique enough here to really grab the listener in the way, say, Ital's "Culture Clubs" does—but it's a superb addition to the ongoing catalog of a label that is successfully taking electronic music to esoteric places without sucking any of the fun out of it.

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