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  • Filed under: Review
  • 04/20/2012

Bicep $tripper

With three years of sleaze-drenched nights already behind Love Fever, the London party has decided to launch an imprint of its own, and its first vinyl-only single, "$tripper," is about as good a foot as any label could get started on.

Love Fever describes its sound as, "cross genre, with a heavy leaning on sleaze, elitist house and romantic techno to create a pornographic energy," and Belfast production duo Bicep appears to fit that mold perfectly. After first appearing with a slightly more sinister take on house with its debut 12" for the Rapture-helmed Throne of Blood label in 2010, Bicep has since geared its production aesthetic increasingly towards a more sultry sound palette, one displayed even further on "$tripper." Pushing off with a New York-style kick-and-hat shuffle, the meat of the tune filters up from its lowest frequency ranges, first revealing the bouncing bass and, slowly thereafter, the accompanying chord progression, which moves in perfect synchronization with its low-end counterparts. "$tripper" goes on to form with just the right touch of retro-mindedness, incorporating the carefree fun of house nostalgia with a modern sonic aesthetic that relies less on crunch and more on space and detail to lure in its listeners. Between its pitched chords and eventual lacing of claps, snares, and even more hats, "$tripper" locks into an inescapable groove that bends and twists ever so slightly as Bicep leads us through the cut's silky flow, only pausing for a brief breakdown in which the accepted rhythm flips on its back before synching up again for the tune's final jaunt.

Ultimately, "$tripper" is a song that is going to be—in most circles—a guaranteed dancefloor winner. It's a tune that feels effortlessly intelligent, comes expertly crafted, and, most importantly of all, is downright fun. With numerous nods to the sounds of house music past (particular that of '90s New York) and a keen sense for what works in the present, Bicep has crafted a fine piece of dance music that appears poised to receive more than its share of rinses in the coming months. The only thing holding this one back is the slightly confusing (and possibly not even Bicep contributed) b-side cut from an "Unknown" artist, which honestly seems like a joke. So we'll give Love Fever the benefit of the doubt on this one and say that—ignoring its flipside—"$tripper" is unquestionably a piece of wax any and all fun-loving DJs need to have in their crates.

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