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  • Filed under: Review
  • 01/25/2013

Jason Short Low Down Dirty Shame

Although he has very few physical releases to his name, San Francisco's Jason Short has an extensive digital discography—he runs the Auralism label and records under a variety of aliases, both solo and in collaboration. Low Down Dirty Shame, his debut for the also primarily digital Thoughtless Music label, offers a range of tracks, and shows the producer gingerly embracing experimentation. Moreover, Thoughtless has thoughtfully collected a few additional talents to remix the title track, not least of whom is Toronto's lauded Stuart Li (better known as Basic Soul Unit).

Short's title track is a tidy tech-house mover led by a buoyant arpeggio, and while the producer incorporates some squirrelly tinges, the track tends to maintain its straightforward groove. Li essentially puts Short's track on a coarse grind, adding his trademark overdriven stomp and breaking up the groove with strained, entrancing jack patterns and wailing synthesizer flourishes. Blue Soul's take is less distorted, but still a bit more daring than the original. Like Short's track, it falls back on an arpeggio, but it's deployed in a dirtier and more spontaneous fashion. Moreover, the glassy, resonant tones that dot the track recall some of Chicago's finest leftfield house operators. Sepehr's "Shameless" remix swings the EP back toward clean tech-house, its brisk rhythm seeming vaguely UK-derived, if only for the sub-bass and rimshot-infused skip. It's a far cry from the other remixes, though, as its other accoutrements fail to culminate. Short's next original, "On the Sharp Edge of Possibility," doesn't fare much better. It builds off field recordings, but the arrangement—particularly the plastic-like kick drum—is oddly slick in juxtaposition. In spite of an emotionally orchestrated final section, the track sounds preset, and one wishes Short would revel more in his dusty, natural backdrop. The EP's final two tracks, "Short Zone of Middle Dimensions" and "Eidolons in Aquariums," exist in more interesting realms. The former is highlighted by circular, double-time percussion, with wavy subs and trippy backwards effects lending a rite-like mood to proceedings. The latter is a spacey, electro-esque track, its drums puttering alongside quirky effects and elastic bass, and ending just as a scatterbrained melody begins to emerge. It's clear from Short's titles and offbeat approach that he has aspirations for a psychedelic brand of dance music, perhaps in the mold of Mathew Jonson, but he often leans upon typical tech-house motifs and builds-and-peaks structures. While he doesn't reach that sort of creative apex here, he is ably backed up by the turns from Basic Soul Unit and Blue Soul.

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