OL & ¥oin Sink EP
The prospect of remote international collaboration is not so unique in 2013, as these sorts of projects seem to pop up every day. Moscow's OL and Scottish producer ¥oin, then, need something more than a clever backstory to make the Sink EP, their debut collaboration, stand out. Fortunately, both artists have made strides to establish their own voices on mostly low-key solo records, particularly OL, who has a discography dating back to 2007. If there's anything that unites the pair's prior work, it's the influence of footwork; this is apparent on Sink, too, but the style is deployed with a degree of tact.
It's clear that OL and ¥oin have paid plenty of attention to the trends of the last few years. These tracks are adeptly produced, but don't herald any new kind of movement. Anchored by a pitched-down rap hook, "Sink" moves with footwork's bounding lurch, but it lacks that genre's spontaneous aggression. On the other hand, its movement from a seasick introduction to a muscular, neon arpeggio is nothing if not finely tuned. "Nails" moves from tweaked bombast through to eski-style grime synths, laced all the while by sporadic snare rolls and rapidfire hi-hats. "You'll Never Know," meanwhile, takes on bass-focused, UK-style house with its quivering R&B vocal samples, stealthy bassline, and jacking snares. The sound design of these tracks is immense and totally praiseworthy, but on the whole, they do not move far beyond tidy pastiches, which seem to shift several times per track.
Each offering also gets a remix. Slick Shoota obnoxiously exaggerates the title track's more swaggering parts, resulting in a kind of steroidal juke that emphasizes drops above all else. Noaipre's take on "Nails" fares better; it's a solid Timbaland impression with its winding flute and stomping, organic drums. MikeQ & Divoli S'vere expectedly manage to work the telltale "Ha" sample into their version of "You'll Never Know," but it takes a backseat to trippily processed rave stabs, which shudder and waver like aural strobes. As finicky as OL & ¥oin's original productions are, they still provide ample material for re-imagining.
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