West Norwood Cassette Library "Coming On Strong"
West Norwood Cassette Library's final offering in its quietly impressive run of 10" singles (a series which has been running since 2010 and included the debut of Blawan and Pariah's Karenn project) closes on a high note with an original tune that merges East Coast garage with a touch of summertime flair and comes backed by a masterful remix from Hessle co-head Pangaea.
"Coming On Strong" has all the trimmings of a summer tune—bouncy tom-laden rhythms, warm chords, memorable melodic samples, and a recognizable refrain—yet it deftly evades being an overindulgent piece of warm-weather fare. The track is remarkably efficient, using its first 32 bars to build the beat (complete with rolling toms) before dropping us off directly into the cut's main sample: a jazzy piano run and accompanying, dubbed-out saxophone. Once "Coming On Strong" is in full motion, the bass, kicks, toms, and hats create a classic New Jersey-style garage swing, atop of which the trickling piano sample and a number of chorded stabs revolve in synchronization. It's a simple tune—there's nothing too tricky or unexpected—but the sounds are all completely solid and thick, doing the bulk of the work while the rest of the track supplies just the right amount of pleasant distraction to ease the listener into its infectious rhythms and out onto the dancefloor.
Pangaea takes things in an entirely different direction for his rework. Focusing on the breathy saxophone sample of the original, the UK producer chops the procession into strict patterns, creating rigid movements that alternate between octaves as they move in syncopation with an intricate assemblage of crackling percussion and stuttering drum programming. The whole affair is utterly immersive, and the pilings of corresponding patterns seem to somehow manage to attract the listener to the remix's less sporadic elements—the elongated samples turned into pads and the vivid space left open amongst the tune's moving parts. Pangaea again turns in a production true to the Hessle standards—it's rewardingly forward-thinking, expertly assembled, and adventurously dancefloor-ready.
Truthfully, the two cuts here are a bit of an odd pairing, and inclusion of one of them in a DJ set most likely negates use of the other (but, of course, anything is possible, especially if your sets are all over the map). Still, the quality and individuality that characterizes each production here makes for a solid 10" of vinyl.
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