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  • Filed under: Review
  • 08/28/2012

Vin Sol The Line Up

As short as it is on official releases, Vin Sol's catalog seems to promise a party. The San Francisco producer's work for labels like Fool's Gold and his own Soo Wavey imprint (which he runs in tandem with 5kinandbone5) references everything from Miami bass to R&B, and is perennially occupied with thunderous low end and a rowdy, party-friendly sensibility. At first glance, The Line Up, Sol's latest release for Soo Wavey, furthers the artist's lively aesthetic (as well as the label's, given that its last release was titled Penis Power). Its outrageous, Santa Cruz Skateboards-inspired cover depicts a slimy gremlin, eyes popping out of its skull, grabbing a blood-covered record with skateboard trucks and wheels attached. That outsized cartoonishness, however, doesn't extend to the two tracks within.

This isn't to suggest that "Lined Up" and "Break Point" are lifeless, however. It's more that they're quite bare boned, in that both tracks are tightly tailored and fit for filling out sets. Sol doesn't appear to spend a lot of time processing his drums, and as a result, his tracks sound punchy and straight out of the box. On "Lined Up," animated cowbell and tom patterns ride bumpy kicks with a palpable electro attitude, continually locking into new angles. Sol's vocal clips and acidic melody are positively old school, and while he complements them with pitch-bent synth rushes and colossal builds, neither dwarves the track's no-frills premise. Although "Lined Up" is busy at times, it rarely feels overloaded. The subby "Break Point" is rawer still, overlaid with a subtle fuzz that suggests it was jammed straight to tape. Its linear progression hints at this as well, with chattering hi-hats and pearly, filtered stabs steadily added to a billowing, similarly stabby bassline. As the elements are filtered past one another, Sol once again employs some extravagant builds. These sorts of dramatic flourishes are often grounds for disaster, but Sol smartly cuts them off, leading the listener back to the track's skeleton rather than climbing into excess.

Neither piece on The Line Up is particularly elegant, and the pervasive use of stabs can make them feel overly taut. Even so, his tracky, old-school approach is efficiently contoured for uptempo sets—Sol is aware that less is often more in that context, and tempers his work accordingly.

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