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  • Filed under: Review
  • 02/08/2011

Salva Complex Housing

There are many meaningful artistic layers to San Francisco producer Paul Salva's debut, Complex Housing. First, there's the title's clever play on housing complexes—prefab city dwellings where people live fascinatingly intricate lives. Similarly, Salva's album initially sounds like standard computer-driven urban music, but listen closer and plenty of twists, variations, and colorful nuances pop out unexpectedly. Salva is in league with other contemporary crunk-bass programmers such as Lazer Sword, Eskmo, Shigeto, and Teebs, as his sounds are grounded with thick, punchy lead synth riffs, arpeggiated electronic sequences, and plodding handclap beats. "40 Karats," for example, features sleazoid soul vocals from Tuscon's Zackey Force Funk and sounds like an OutKast/Zapp hybrid with its funky, low-slung bass grooves and sexy raps. But the songs on Complex Housing don't linger on one path too long—"Keys Open Doors" bubbles and shakes with percussive UK funky rhythms while "Baroque" walks with glistening padded steps into future-garage territory. Amid the blurred bass genres, Salva's musicality and command of his virtual instrument arsenal is impressive—dude can program a beat with the best of them—but his keyboard mastery is what shines most. Along with the album's 10 original compositions, guests like Lazer Sword's Lando Kal, Machinedrum, and labelmate My Dry Wet Mess remix four of the album's ringers. The result is party grooves without a genre agenda. The songs slap, spasm, and gallop in a wonderfully complex beat orgy. This house is on fire.

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