Various Artists House Slippers
According to popular mythology, Los Angeles is a city that exists in a kind of eternal June, and it's in this agreeable climate that Young Adults, the Friends of Friends-affiliated house imprint, is based. So far, there have only been two releases on the label: the first a four-track compilation featuring the likes of Urulu and LOL Boys, and the second an EP from disco-slinging gearhead Suzanne Kraft. Still, both efforts were united by a shared slow-motion sentiment that brought modern house sensibilities to noodling Balearica. House Slippers is the latest offering from Young Adults, and it diverges in the sense that, at eight songs, it's the label's longest player to date, but more importantly, it reaches out beyond its immediate environs to include works by artists as far afield as Holland and England.
According to the label itself, the compilation is structured to resemble the ebb and flow of a good DJ set at an all-night party, as its press release states, "The compilation soundtracks the progression from dusk till dawn, complete with warm up burners, peak time jammers and comedown chuggers." This is more or less how it plays out, though, it might begin a little too mellow. Sasha Anastasov's remix of The Socialites "Only this Moment feat. Tesla Boy" is not so much slow motion as it is glacial in its scope, cruising along at a lazy pace through a whole array of nu-disco cliches, including muted Rhodes chords, arpeggiating analog synthesizers, Mark Knopfler guitar playing, and a vocal that sits somewhere near the cosmic crooning of Woolfy. Truth be told, the song might strike some as a little cheesy, but this sound is soon left behind as the compilation ramps up into leg-limbering mode with Closed Paradise's "The Daulphin." Utilizing crowd noise, electric-piano riffs, and chopped-up vocal samples, it's got a vibe that keeps its cool in the way it conveys a feeling of energy restrained. Permanent Vacation brings the vibe back down with its remix of Suzanne Kraft's "Maybe Snakes," a tune that melds hardware simplicity with reverby soul vocals.
What follows is a two-song passage that forms the meat of the record. Chamboche's "Into the Murk" is a minimalistic retro-house cut that works a lot better than its stripped-down structure should. It has a jazzy swing built into the percussion that's crisp and unobtrusive, which allows the main diva sample to pair up and create a foil to the track's jazzy piano work in a way that's reminiscent of Theo Parrish's "Falling Up." But it's Mark E that delivers the highlight of the record with his "Fake Bitches." Recalling a combination of the producer's early re-edit work with his later house-oriented sound, it's an almost hallucinogenic blend that drives a chattering diva sample through a storm of looping guitars, clavinets, and Todd Terry-esque hard-house stabs. NYCPARTYINFO follows it up by winding down into the pitched-down R&B of "Mr. Everything," which takes a more conventional route with its police klaxons and breakdown-dominant structure.
Ben La Desh's "Let Us Down" takes things further out of the peak and into a lull moment with heavily filtered chords gliding slowly over dub-house stabs placed on the upbeat. It's melodic and clean to a fault, and while it won't win any awards for originality, in this case, utility and execution are enough. Finally, the compilation ends on a somber note with Grown Folk's "Just Wear It." It falls back heavily on repitched vocals, layering them over a shuffling beat and wiggling arpeggios that, though they aren't novel, are effective in their own way. And that might be a good way of looking at the compilation as a whole; minor gripes aside, it's the sort of work that ought to be a natural complement to the approaching summer season.
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