False Image Wild Kingdom EP
For most people, the initial attraction to False Image will stem from the identities of producers involved. The project is the creative offspring of veteran producers Noah Pred and Tom Clark, who struck up a collaborative partnership after Pred relocated to Berlin last year. The duo's first official offering, the two-song Wild Kingdom EP, arrives this week, somewhat surprisingly via the Get Physical label. The record bears few traces of the imprint's trademark electro-disco-house lineage—something that's most likely a good thing for an outfit making its debut in 2013—but the music is undeniably functional, which isn't surprising given the resumes of the artists involved.
"Ocelot" occupies the a-side, and it's a slinky piece of tech-house, one that's been coated with a high-gloss finish. The gleaming synths are the focus here, and False Image does a nice job weaving together various melodies over the course of the song's eight-minute runtime. Over an ever-present filtered whirl, there are playful leads that occasionally warble and wobble, along with some acid-ish stabs that nicely complement the track's bassline. The drums are more straightforward, little more than a basic four-on-the-floor skeleton with some scattered claps and popping snares, yet they serve their purpose and keep things moving. In truth, each element of the song certainly sounds good, but overall, the arrangement is a bit too linear, a fact that's only magnified by the ultra-clean production aesthetic. As such, "Ocelot" can seem a little tracky and doesn't really stand out as much as its creators might have wanted.
"Anteater" finds Pred and Clark delving deeper into the percussion side of things, assembling a snappy drum pattern and a more inventive rhythm. The track does have some slight nods to the stripped-down machine sounds of late-'80s/early-'90s acid house, but again, the song's smooth polish eliminates much of the rawness that made those vintage tunes so exciting. "Anteater" doesn't offer much in the way of melody, apart from the occasional synth cresting in the background, but its funky strut undoubtedly has a certain charm. Nevertheless, it's still tracky, and could be easily overlooked by DJs in search of something a little more inventive or rough around the edges. There's no question that False Image is the byproduct of two skilled producers, but the pair's maiden voyage is less of a Wild Kingdom than a guided safari tour—there's some nice scenery, but the safety of the excursion is never in doubt.
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