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  • Filed under: Review
  • 09/07/2012

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NeferTT Blue Skies Red Soil EP

The past few years have seen the Hotflush label release works from a semi-regular cast of producers that includes Sepalcure, Sigha, Mount Kimbie, and, of course, label boss Scuba himself. However, it's unclear whether the latest release from the Hotflush camp, the Blue Skies Red Soil EP, comes from a familiar name, as the record was helmed by a mysterious duo operating under the moniker NeferTT. Details about the project are slim; as we reported, the two producers behind the alias supposedly have versatile discographies that span a wide breadth of styles ranging from hip-hop to drone. On its debut record, the secretive twosome has turned its attention to sculpting voluptuous, retro-leaning beats that uphold Hotflush's penchant for bass-driven excellence.

The EP's title track builds into a pulsing groove cushioned by many layers of rich sounds, like ripe bass tones, wavering diva yodels, a rattling tambourine, and elastic synth notes. The mix is so thick that it seems almost tactile, creating an atmosphere of sensual luxury that carries throughout the record. The pattering hand drums on "Cleo's Spot" give a head-waggling energy to the tune's pillowy bassline, but the simmering synths and beat keep the overall mood relaxed and lavish.

The same could be said for "Pyramel," a shimmering slow roller decorated with twinkling keys and the occasional faraway squawk of a synth. With a retro flavor formed by the song's chunky bassline and a froth of gentle synth pads and sparkling melodies, the production taps into a light, easygoing prettiness reminiscent of early-'90s house tracks like After Hours' 1991 classic, "Waterfalls."

As of late, labels like RVNG, LA-based imprint 100% Silk, and Portland's Ecstasy collective have been reviving musical motifs from late-'80s and early-'90s house. Back in January, 100% Silk label head Amanda Brown even opened her FACT mix with "Waterfalls." NeferTT's debut EP finds Hotflush sniffing around similar territory, but rather than re-envisioning the styles pioneered by labels like Strictly Rhythm and Nu Groove as swirling, lo-fi house beats, the duo fills out the productions with an ample serving of lush sensuality.

The primary difference between NeferTT's retro-leaning aesthetic and the style championed by its contemporaries at outposts like Ecstasy and 100% Silk seems to lie in the anonymous duo's preference for full-bodied sounds and ample low end. To a certain extent, those are Hotflush's calling cards, as those themes have cropped up in many of the label's recent releases. The luscious atmosphere and thick, throbbing low end favored by Sepalcure is alive on "Blue Skies Red Soil," Locked Groove's bouncing hypnotism and quiet loveliness surface on NeferTT's clicking and whirling "Bless Moon," and grainy, quivering synth notes like those on Guy Andrews' "Hands In Mine" are put to use on Blue Skies Red Soil's digital-only cut, "III." Whoever is behind the NeferTT project seems to have understood the special charm of Hotflush's catalog and was able to spread it onto a framework inspired by silky retro rhythms, adding a fresh and rich dimension to the sound. The result is nothing short of delectable.

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