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  • Filed under: Review
  • 11/19/2013

JTC Valley Road (We Are 1)

Longtime Michigan producer Tadd Mullinix can be counted upon to bring a certain degree of knowledge to his tracks—historical, practical, or otherwise. Whether he is recording as Dabrye or James T. Cotton (or any of several other aliases, spanning an array of genres), it's usually pretty evident that Mullinix has spent some time considering the nuances of his tracks, as they seldom feel dashed-off. Too much thought often hampers a dance track's clout, but the producer manages to avoid that pitfall on Valley Road (We Are 1), his latest 12".

The title track is sort of garage-y in its bumpy bassline and shuffling, frenetic drums, though it isn't dramatically swung. It has an infectious push from the beginning, but it really takes off when a vocal chanting "together we are one" begins alternating with liquid chords and a crystalline, four-note melody. It's a well-designed piece, but it's also unpredictable enough to keep the floor engaged. DJ Qu's reworking takes Mullinix's ideas in a hazy, more industrial direction, one that's nonetheless marked by his patented hypnotic style. The vocal is again an anchor, but Qu's echoing, entwining patterns of stray blows would probably succeed on their own. Mullinix's "Alpha Helix" closes out the package with a workout that leans toward the Muzique catalog. Its spasmodic arrangement is less purposeful than its predecessors, but much busier. It's not exactly aimless, but more of a closed circuit of warbling, flanged synthesizer, vocal chants (a repeated "nobody"), and sputtering hi-hats. It's a solid counterpoint to the comparatively anthemic title track, and another reminder of the producer's versatility.

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