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  • Filed under: Review
  • 04/18/2013

xxxy "Progression" b/w "Thinkin Bout"

xxxy's last outing—the house-leaning Got Me So for Rinse—left us a little cold. The title track was a solid enough tune, but amidst the current climate of UK dancefloors, its blend of house and garage influences simply didn't jump out from the crowd in the same way that the London-based producer's best moments had in the past. Thankfully, this follow-up single for Welsh imprint Ten Thousand Yen—the label that's played home to a considerable number of his best tracks to date—is a return to what xxxy does best.

Most notably, both tracks here are livelier and full of Taylor's distinct personality. Each tune is born of the point where the grittiness of warehouse techno meets the playful bounce of vintage rave music, resulting in a pair of very likeable tracks that makes an instant impression. "Progression," on the a-side, is based around a relentless synth arpeggio and is certainly the most upfront thing we've heard from xxxy in a while. It's fairly simplistic in its composition, consisting of little more than the drive of that aggressive synth line and a propulsive beat built around quick hats and taught snare hits. But there are plenty of little touches in there to keep things interesting; xxxy peppers the background with minimal synth lines that gently shift the feel of the track as it progresses, and throws in the occasional inversion of the lead line for good measure.

B-side "Thinkin Bout," meanwhile, comes a little closer to retreading territory xxxy has covered in the past, though it still packs plenty of vintage charm. He revives the quick-cut, detuned vocals that have almost become a trademark of his work and fixes them around a rattling rhythm of rapid-fire drum-machine hits. As the song progresses, a couple of fantastically on-point percussive synths cut right through the center of the tune, giving the whole thing a bouncy, old-school energy. As with the a-side, it's hardly reinventing the wheel, but both tracks combine spirited energy with genuinely catchy rhythms—which is exactly what xxxy does best.

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