Fantastic Mr Fox "The Trap" b/w "Jackal Youth"
Following his intial burst of material that appeared in 2009 and 2010 and subsequently made Fantastic Mr Fox a prominent early explorer of the "bass music" hybrid, the Berlin-based producer has not been in much of a rush to check in with his listeners. After a silent 2011, last year's San'en EP saw his productions drift towards more song-like forms, only to have the single-sided "Power" 12" that followed point back to the dancefloor. "The Trap" b/w "Jackal Youth" marks the next point in Fantastic Mr Fox's gradual evolution, delivering two songs that continue to push the man's noted knack for chord structures and tricky rhythmic twists into a more tool-like package.
"The Trap" and "Jackal Youth" complement each other well. Each tune exists somewhere in the lower end of the 120-bpm spectrum, and while the a-side cut does implement a tastefully catchy vocal sample to guide its movement, both tracks' rhythmic offerings seem to be the intended focal point. Though his output hasn't exactly been prolific over the years, Fantastic Mr Fox has nonetheless landed on a sound palette that is distinctly his own, one that can specifically be heard in the the church organ-like chords, brassy stabs, and mangled—but not overbearing—brand of percussion which he uses to fill the edges of these tracks' predominantly four-on-floor drum patterns.
Still, for those who have followed Fantastic Mr Fox's career over the years, it will be hard not to feel like a little something is missing from this single. While these tracks would certainly not be out of place in a club setting, at this point, coaxing dancefloors is still not the producer's strongest attribute. In some ways, Fantastic Mr Fox sounds like he's still trying to find his own path in this realm; "The Trap" is vaguely reminiscent of Blawan's "Getting Me Down"—though the otherworldly reach of that tune has been replaced with Fantastic Mr Fox's usual bluesy air—while "Jackal Youth" uncovers some intriguing patterns and sonic ideas, but overall feels a bit lackluster. In the end, "The Trap" b/w "Jackal Youth" is perhaps a necessary evolutionary step in Fantastic Mr Fox's career, one which his fans should hope will be greatly outshined when the man eventually drops the debut full-length he is reportedly in the midst of crafting.
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