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  • Filed under: Review
  • 01/07/2013

Butch feat. Hohberg Lullabies to Paralyze

2012 was another intensely productive year for German tech-house producer Butch (a.k.a. Bülent Gürler). Since he first appeared in 2007, Butch has maintained a prolific output that often manages to ride the line between quantity and quality. Yet, as could be expected from someone with so many releases, his style sometimes feels undefined beyond its slick production aesthetic. Lullabies to Paralyze doesn't do much to change that, with two tracks that never stray far from the accepted norms of contemporary tech house.

That isn't to say the music won't work a dancefloor. If anything, that's where these tracks ought to excel. Everything is predictable and on the grid, and nothing is dirty or left to chance. A-side "Horus" opens the EP with a loopy house rhythm running beneath small percussive hits that recall Grace Jones' "Pull Up to the Bumper." Its hook is a rising arpeggiated analog synth lead that contorts and pushes against the edge of a low-pass filter. All the changes happen where one would expect, as it all seems carefully calculated for maximum effect on large soundsystems. But despite its effectiveness, the song lacks any real distinguishing characteristics. It's dancefloor candy, with all the positive and negative associations that phrase might connote.

The same goes for b-side "Medusa." By contrast, it takes a minimal route with drones and clicky percussive hits that whir like wind-up toys. Here, the focus is on plucking notes and ambient pads that push and pull above the basic four-to-the-floor rhythm. It's more atmospheric than the a-side, and though it's still tuned for a large system, it's less suited for prime time. Ultimately, it's well executed, but like the rest of the EP, it's more about being functional than making any kind of distinct statement.

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