Ejeca Different Rules/Life in Flux
Belfast-based Ejeca has quickly established himself as a prolific voice, already bettering last year's four releases with five in 2013. Like his associates in Bicep, the producer born Garry McCartney takes heavy influence from 1990s garage, so much so that many of his tracks sound like faithful recreations of this music. Of course, Marc Kinchen's dubs are legendary, and reproducing his music 20 years on is a perfectly fine m.o., if only for DJs' sake. McCartney's skill at conjuring this era is compounded by his tracks' general lack of frills; because they tend not to over-employ modern production tricks (other than sounding considerably sleeker), his songs sit well with these older productions. On his latest pair of EPs, McCartney both furthers this reputation and strays into some new, less derivative territory.
On Different Rules, the inaugural release for Lokee Musik, Ejeca delivers a pair of tunes that stay true to form. The title track's rhythm has old-school garage's trademark bumpy swing; there are vocal chops intoning something like "in the house," steady organ patterns, and thin strings. "Akrobat" moves in similar territory, led by growling bass and an airy organ. It has both an emptier framework and a greater variety of vocal samples though, and its rimshot-led charge is somehow more infectious as a result. Ekkohaus' remix of "Different Rules" ramps up the energy with a steady piano line, but otherwise only adds a few slight touches. Eric Volta, meanwhile, empties "Akrobat" out in favor of a stabby marimba and a resounding portamento bassline that dominates the track. Each of these tracks works off a laundry list of stock motifs, which keeps them firmly in the functional category.
Life in Flux, McCartney's first release for 2020 Vision, is not drastically different. Its four tracks are underpinned by the same sorts of swinging drums and tough basslines, and generally find their hooks in some sort of organ melody and vocal chops. "Agent of the Deep," "Home," and "Jump" all feature measured variations on these themes. While all are sharply composed, they are not particularly novel. But in places, McCartney does find new ways to breathe life into these sounds. This experimentation is most noticeable on "Purnsley," which opts for drowsy, filtered-down chords over energetic stabs, and concludes on a thoroughly eerie note with dissonant, Liquid Sky-style synth vox. In the future, McCartney would be wise to keep himself unconfined in this way.
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