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  • Filed under: Review
  • 12/20/2012

Kresy Basement Trax

Earlier this year, Spanish producer Kresy had a moment in the spotlight with Lords of Percussion, his old-school-Detroit-indebted solo debut on Hivern Discs. At times trippy and generally dark, it was a natural foil for the lighter work of labelmates Pional and John Talabot. Now he's back with a new EP and a slightly tweaked sound that abandons techno in favor of an impressionistic take on driving, '90s-style New York house.

If there's one thing that many contemporary producers miss when trying to recreate aspects of the past, it's musical economy. Kresy is no exception to this, and the four songs on his new EP are mostly weighed down by the number of ideas he attempts to convey. This isn't a completely terrible thing; many of his melodies and rhythms are well crafted, but there's never a chance for any of them to stand out from the background. For instance, opener "Day Into the Night" manages to squeeze an acid bassline, multiple sampled vocals, two synth leads, and rising pads into the span of a single lull. In its current state, it's a bouncing club cut with an anthemic vocal hook, but much of its impact is dulled by the amount of stuff happening in the midrange. A similar issue is at hand on "Mystic Strings," a track built around Nitro Deluxe-style orchestral stabs. He works towards a heavy breakdown by accumulating melodies, but there must be a way of building to a climax without adding more instrumentation.

By contrast, "Baby in Love" works better by easing back on the accompaniment to let its vocal sample shine through. Mostly built on an M1 organ bassline and a banging TR-909 rhythm, it brings to mind the sweatiness invoked by the EP's title, though even here there are elements—such as the acid bassline—that feel as though they'd be better left on the cutting room floor. That said, the clutter it does have doesn't detract from its effectiveness as a peak-time workout.

The best moment on the EP is "Miles in the Galaxy." Compared with the other three songs, it has a welcome amount of balance in the way it weaves its disparate parts together. Recalling the atmospheric side of Nu Groove's early-'90s heyday, it's custom tuned for the demands of a DJ set that goes past sunrise. Everything has a reason for sitting where it does in the mix, and there's no out-of-place acid or unnecessary vocal to obscure the message. As a snapshot of a fully realized and coherent Kresy house tune, it's promising. Hopefully, future releases will see him continue in this vein and strip things down even more.

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