Rory Phillips Mixed Fortunes #4
Eclectic Londoner Rory Phillips is better known for his DJing and remix work than his solo productions, which have only begun seen the light of day in the last year or so. In spite of this reticence, a glance through those remixes is enough to prove that he knows his way around a studio. Besides lending his touch to a long list of high-profile artists, from Franz Ferdinand to The xx, he's also taken the time to rework cult heroes like Units and Alexander Robotnick. His Mixed Fortunes series attempts to showcase the chops that have made him so in-demand for such a variety of camps, and in this respect, the clear-headed fourth edition surely succeeds.
"Tunnel Vision" rides in on a confident, bongo-laden disco stomp that's laced with a frisky hi-NRG arpeggio. Using an arsenal of glassy synthetic twinges, Phillips builds the track to an exhilarating climax, which is led by a big-room-ready piano hook. The producer's pop instincts are abundantly clear here, though his touch harkens back to mid-1980s excess more than anything currently doing the club rounds at the moment. "Silicon Island," on the flip, is comparatively low-key. Produced with Night Slugs' co-chair L-Vis 1990 (a.k.a. James Connolly), it has a spiky, slow grind that's underlined by a pointy, grooving bassline and faintly glowing pads. Its midsection, however, is all about a volatile main arpeggio, which flares up without warning. It's a fair bet that this is Connolly's contribution, as it calls to mind the raw, spasmodic house he has been investigating of late. Combined with Phillips' melodious flourishes, it neatly finds a midpoint between the producers' styles. Neither track goes too far into uncharted territory, but "Silicon Island" reinforces the idea that Phillips is at his best when his music is infused, however slightly, with the work of another.
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