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  • Filed under: Review
  • 05/23/2013

Phon.o "Schn33" b/w "Go"

Phon.o generally brings a little more concentration and heat to his 12"s than his albums. The UK-influenced German producer's latest single for 50Weapons is no exception; "Schn33" b/w "Go" contains some of his strongest—and most straightforward—dancefloor material to date.

A-side "Schn33" sports 4/4 kicks, but they roll out with the same suppleness as Phon.o's more slinky patterns—it seems that the artist born Carsten Aermes just can't resist syncopation, real or implied. His precision-tooled funkiness serves the listener well here, as it's counterposed to a dramatic, forestal chord progression that could have tumbled out of Pantha du Prince's hard drive around the time of This Bliss. "Schn33" has the chugging, obstinate power of a locomotive: The song streaks by with a boldness that would have helped his last album, Black Boulder, be a bit more memorable.

"Go" follows the template of "Schn33" by homing in on some long-favored sounds, but deploying them with a neat matter-of-factness. Here, we're dealing with the gummy punch of dub chords, a blank vocal sample, dashing hi-hats, and another synth melody—just shy of being bombastic—that slowly grows in the shadows until it owns the track. And although it's as slickly executed as anything Phon.o has ever put his name to, "Go" sounds almost as hungry as the a-side.

For all of its steppy rhythms, Aermes' music tends to be aerodynamic and well moisturized on the surface. Those qualities have obscured the inner workings of his songs before, but on this record, the producer makes it impossible to ignore their internal tension. Though the materials and execution are nothing new, the experience Phon.o wrests out of them is totally absorbing.

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