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  • Filed under: Review
  • 04/04/2013

Bobby Browser Still Browsing EP

It's been over a year since Bobby Browser's debut EP, Just Browsing, appeared on the fashionable 100% Silk imprint. From the sound of Still Browsing though, it seems the Bay Area producer has changed very little about his approach in that time—he's still keen to take cues from classic house and disco, still dedicated to vintage hardware tones, and still sounding damn good.

Still Browsing leads with its strongest cut, "As Far as I Know." Built around a set of cool electric-piano chords and a jacking groove, the tune stretches its handful of elements for a fully enjoyable five-plus minutes. Between the extra loops of hand percussion, string-like synth melodies, diva vocal chops, rolling snares, and walking bass, Browser has plenty of arrangement possibilities to toy around with and he does so, dropping the bass here or shortening the vocal snippets there to create the track's various sections. It's these constant arrangement tweaks that give the tune its dancefloor momentum, always hinting at what all the elements are capable of together, but only allowing them to line up for a few chorus-like moments.

The EPs other three efforts do not disappoint. "Airplane Mode" sneaks a bit of acid into its mellow, afternoon-house feel, and the following "Theme From Tony's Party" is a thick disco cut led by floating string samples and just a touch of breathy melody. The closing "Baby Dre" brings the tempo down to a breezy 100 bpm, leaving Browser some extra room, which he uses to lay into his synths and land on a few poignant melodic themes that, combined with the track's slow shuffle and field recordings of the ocean, give the song an unexpectedly relaxed and contemplative character.

On both of his EPs as Bobby Browser, the Oakland-based producer has shown an ability to take inspiration from a few different veins of vintage dance music without simply lifting ideas directly from them. While he may not be forging ahead into uncharted or perhaps "forward thinking" sonic territory, that is likely because he doesn't really have to; Browser has managed to find a distinctive voice amongst what continues to become a crowded field of Johnny-come-lately producers obsessed with the classic house sound. What exactly Browser does differently is not easy to quantify, but part of it may lie in the fact that the soulful undercurrents and hardware roundness of Still Browsing are not the ultimate focus, but are rather simply part of the patchwork which makes the man's disarmingly inviting tracks.

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