Following several high-profile releases on Rinse and Hypercolour over the past couple of years, UK producer Huxley (a.k.a. Michael Dodman) has now issued his debut for Will Saul's Aus label. The three tracks—along with a digital bonus track—that make up the Inkwell EP continue in the vein of bass-heavy, big-room garage-house that Dodman has mined with considerable success in his releases to date. Like those previous releases, Inkwell provides a nice balance between melodic hooks and easy accessibility, and includes some deeper, darker strains that are carried forth by Dodman's penchant for seriously formidable basslines.
"Inkwell" opens the proceedings with a slow-burning intro that introduces a vocal sample that provides the tune's main hook, which is draped in oscillations of filtered sound and slowly builds up to the introduction of a massive bassline. The rest of a track feels customized for a peak-time dancefloor, and while big, garage-influenced house tracks from the UK are hardly groundbreaking at this point in time, its bright organ stabs and shuffling, slightly swung beat can't help but satisfy. The remaining two tracks from the physical release break from this formula slightly, but in many ways are no more original. "Creeper (Club)" tones down the first track's melodic sensibility, offering up a lopsided beat, sprinkled piano ambiance, and a rapped vocal sample, while "Long Summer Night" takes things in the direction of sensual deep house that's heavy on reverb and muted, underwater pads, with a vocalist repeating both the titular phrase and "all night long." The digital-only bonus track "Creeper" feels aimless, with none of the stripped-back appeal of the "Club" version, and like much of Dodman's material, it relies perhaps a little too heavily on a good bassline to carry the tune. While Huxley surely knows how to craft a decent tune, there's a distinct lack of subtlety to the Inkwell EP that doesn't always work in the record's favor.
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