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  • Filed under: Review
  • 02/20/2013

Natan H & Amy Jean For Her

Despite only offering up a handful of releases since its inception in 2011—this EP being the fifth—George FitzGerald's ManMakeMusic label has managed to carve out an impressive niche for itself. Effectively, it's the same space that FitzGerald's own productions occupy: the area between the warmth and accessibility of classic house and textural experimentation of leftfield techno and dubstep. This latest EP—a collaboration between LA-based newcomer Natan H and classically trained New Zealander Amy Jean—sees the label delve slightly deeper into the realms of classic house with three tracks of brilliantly soulful, late-night dance music.

Everything here is immaculately produced and feels meticulously arranged. "For Her" itself marries a meandering, heavily filtered lead to a drum-machine rhythm poached straight out of classic disco. The whole production is thickened with careful atmospheric touches and gorgeous pads, injecting a rich vein of melody into the track. "I Know" follows a similar path; it's built around layers of soulful vocal cuts and simplistic, melodic bass hits, all driven along by an interlocking rhythmic loop of excitable house claps and lo-fi hats. Both tracks are subtle and understated but hugely engaging—they're stellar examples of the deeper end of house music at its best.

That said, it's final track "Rush" that proves to be the highlight. Its composition isn't a million miles away from the two tracks that precede it, yet there's a very slight upward gearshift, thanks to its commanding hi-hat rhythm and a background vocal sample that sounds as if it could have been plundered from some classic '90s rave anthem. Nevertheless, as with the rest of the EP, the production is pleasantly minimal and built around a less-is-more approach that leaves the melodic chord progression to do the talking.

In all, For Her offers three tracks of mature and delicate dance music. It's the sort of electronic release that's confident enough to sit back and impress with its old-fashioned compositional prowess, rather than going in for unfamiliar sounds or unconventional song structures. As an EP, it's both an impressive statement from these new artists—marking both out as names to look out for—and yet another low-key triumph for ManMakeMusic.

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