It wasn't long ago that Vin Sol was largely an unknown proposition, but he's managed to become a relatively established house producer rather quickly. His first release came in 2012, but it was two outings on Unknown to the Unknown, along with his many efforts for his own Soo Wavey label—which he operates alongside friend and frequent collaborator Matrixxman—that have really nudged the San Francisco producer into the spotlight. By now, it's been established what the self-confessed "record nerd" and long-time DJ is all about, and that is classically informed house with lots of raw texture, a proud analog aesthetic, and serious dancefloor clout.
Though his previous output has included everything from gooey Sade reworks to rueful deep stuff, one gets the impression his debut EP on Clone’s unapologetically floor-facing Jack for Daze offshoot is the one that best sums up his style and most ably showcases his hardware- and MPC-based skills. It might not be wholly new in terms of ideas, yet Off the Chain is so excellently executed that there is no need to dress up the four tracks on it as anything other than what they are: unmistakably tooly cuts designed to make people sweat.
And boy, do they do that, right from the start. The title track is a nerve-twitching amalgam of walloping rubber kicks, ghetto-fried vocal stabs, and percolating bass that adds a sense of size and scale to what is essentially a percussive jack track. At various random points, spinning hi-hats and jostling claps stick out of the mix like stray limbs in a cartoon fight, prodding the listener in the eye and awakening every sense in the process. It's fun and prickly and loveably oafish, while "Shox" is another masterclass in dehumanized house rave. Irresistibly energetic, its a lithe brew of robust 909 sounds that are piled up, chewed around, and spat out with scant regard for proper arrangement.
Vin Sol does this boundless brutalism as well as anyone, but for those seeking a slightly more linear jam, "House Freaks" is the one. The track surges along with subtle traces of Chicago at every turn, from the juke-inspired snares to the twitchy acid squiggles via the intense vocal stabs. And with its matter-of-fact title, ravey, corrugated closer "Trac" confirms what followers of Vin Sol already know about his music: it's high-impact, visceral stuff that comes from his gut and gets whoever is listening right in theirs.