Huxley Bellywedge EP
There's something inherently likeable about the particular brand of unashamedly fun house that UK producer Michael Dodman (a.k.a. Huxley) trades in. With the string of releases that he's put out over the past couple of years, he's demonstrated a remarkably consistent talent for balancing out floor-filling bass hooks and vintage vocal lines with just the right amount of sonic complexity. When he's at his best on tracks like the unstoppable "Let It Go"—his previous release for Hypercolour—he manages to make music that sounds instantly anthemic without sacrificing too much in the way of creativity. Pleasingly, there's more of the same on offer as he returns to the label for this latest two-track release.
A-side "Bellywedge" repeats the same trick that made both "Let It Go" and "Shower Scene" such dancefloor favorites. Dodman marries an infectious, low-end-heavy bass loop to a pitched-down vocal hook, all fixed around a crisp 4x4 beat that owes a considerable debt to classic NY garage. Thankfully, just as things feel like they're drifting a little too far into the realms of straightforward main-room house, Dodman brings things down into a drawn-out breakdown peppered with delayed vocal syllables and percussive synths, before bringing the bass riff back into play sounding bouncier than ever.
"Little Things" on the reverse sees Dodman stepping a little further into classic rave territory. It's built around a thick, relentless synth riff accompanied by an utterly irresistible shuffling garage beat. Almost otherworldly old-school vocals and yet another of those precise three-note bass hooks rounds the whole thing off into a neat little tune aimed squarely at peak-time warehouse raving. As with "Bellywedge," it feels like—for now at least—Huxley is quite happy to repeat the same tricks that he's found success with previously. There's little to complain about though; right now, that likability is still intact. He's continuing to successfully steer a neat path between underground credibility and anthemic accessibility, and it sounds like he's having an immense amount of fun in the process.
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