xxxy Got Me So EP
When he's at his best, Rupert Taylor (a.k.a xxxy) is easily one of the finest producers operating out of the UK right now. On past highlights like "Ordinary Things," "This Much," or the phenomenal "Open Your Eyes," he displayed an ability to combine wonderfully infectious bursts of melody with plenty of rhythmic creativity and personality. Whether Got Me So is an example of xxxy at his best is, however, debatable. Much like he did on last year's Everything EP, here Taylor delivers several dancefloor-ready tunes that have been produced with pinpoint precision, but it feels like a little of the character and uniqueness of his earlier work is missing.
That said, "Got Me So" is undoubtedly a skillfully composed and fun club track. As he has on previous outings, Taylor takes a simplistic vocal sample and manages to loop and manipulate it in a way that draws out impressive amounts of energy. Beneath it, the bouncy house bassline drives the track along just as it should, while the colorful synth arpeggios that fade in and out sound crisp and warm. The problem is that when compared to Taylor's best work, which has always counteracted its pop tendencies with subtly esoteric flourishes, "Got Me So" feels lacking in genuinely distinctive characteristics. The same can be said for b-side "Get Ready"; while Taylor does an unquestionably skillful job of combining a classic 4x4 house beat with subtle hints of UK garage swing, both tracks feel like they come from the nowhere land at the centre of the UK's current club scene where house beats, garage vocals, and the occasional techno synth all mingle under the frustratingly generic umbrella of 'bass music.'
Closing track "Studio 9" is by far the highlight of the collection; its drums hit slightly harder, the delayed vocal loop is a little more hypnotic, and thick bursts of synth make the track feel altogether more powerful. In general, it's a more slow-burning affair, one which is less concerned with pushing the same crossover house buttons as the a-side and instead feels more geared towards late-night raving.
On the whole, it would be unfair to imply that there's anything necessarily wrong with Got Me So as an EP—there's plenty to like about each of the tracks here, even if they don't particularly stand out from the crowd. It's just that given past form, it feels like we should be expecting more from Taylor, and this release instead feels like more of the same.
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