Fantastic Man Heartbreaker
Although they haven't gotten as much attention as the records under his own name, Melbourne's Mic Newman has been releasing tracks under the Fantastic Man alias since 2010. Heartbreaker, his latest EP under that banner, is not too far removed from what one expects of Newman—its three originals offer deeper tracks with inflections from old-school house and '80s boogie, with dashes of vocals for good measure. It's not an especially daring EP, but even hardened house heads will find bits to latch onto.
The title track features an appropriately bittersweet combination of icy chimes and vocals from a resigned would-be diva with rigid, almost jackhammering stabs. It brings to mind some of Tevo Howard's material in its glum but tense arrangement. "Zero" samples The Other People Place's classic "Sunrays," a premise that is admittedly hard to ruin. It's also hard to improve upon, but Newman makes an attempt, adding a funk bassline, more diva-ish vocals, and lightly jacking claps. It's no patch on the original, but it's always nice to be reminded of James Stinson's timeless swan song. "Keep Out" goes for an old-school approach, with crisply aligned drum patterns, a tubular bassline, and a collage of odd vocal yawns. Suzanne Kraft takes it on for a remix, implementing a busier, shiftier framework, filled with flanges and claves, and eventually incorporating a range of synthlines, from the placid to the squiggling. It's a solid effort, if only because it takes the chances Newman is usually hesitant to.
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