Loco Dice Toxic EP
For better or worse—particularly the latter in the backlash-fueled world of the internet—the Loco Dice name is often associated with a kind of polished, bottle-service tech house. His high-sheen tracks would indeed seem interminable if they weren't inflected with a bit of hip-hop swagger, a playful disposition that hints at a deeper well of funk than is immediately apparent. Certain aspects of his productions can't help but sound a little anachronistic sitting between the current poles of mainstream trance cheese and ashen bunker techno. Clean and sleek are some of the least-favored adjectives at the moment, and the four lengthy tracks on Toxic are built like an olympic swimmer. Fashion aside, this is only slightly problematic in terms of the EP experience, as Toxic generally knows to open a window when it starts to smell too much like generic Euro cologne.
"Autotox" and "Detox" lay down insistent club grooves with no hesitation, their bouncy surfaces launching vocal samples and auxiliary percussion in long, graceful arcs. The 4/4 backbone would be starkly generic—pejoratively "minimal"—on its own, but Loco Dice hides Easter eggs throughout. On "Detox," there's not only the sassy, honking sax toward the end, but also the way he catches a vocal mid-fall, slams it with reverb, and lets it disintegrate back into the gray locomotion. "Neurotox," the EP's third track, might be its most straightforward, with its sashaying cymbals, pricking lead, and bulbous bassline. "Retox," however, is more audacious. Rubbing sound bites from Bound by Honor ("What, not even a little carnalismo left in there, ese?") against an airy, percolating arrangement that nods at the recent work of his old Cocoon buddy Ricardo Villalobos, it's a wry kind of cool-down track. An unsurprising prospect on the surface, Toxic demonstrates Loco Dice's talent for disarming nonpartisan listeners while appealing to his base.
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