Uffe Stræss EP - XLR8R

Uffe Stræss EP

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The second record from Amsterdam's Uffe is not an easy one to pin down. Across three originals, the burgeoning producer seems to have one foot in soulful house and one in the more abstract reaches of electronic pop as he unveils a series of surprises, which seemingly lurk around each of the EP's many corners.

"Something Wrong" opens Stræss in understandable enough territory, its cool electric-piano chords and funky bassline making for a mellow bit of house. But where many producers would roll a thicker kick or punches of tuned low end beneath the track, Uffe elects to build in the higher region of the sound spectrum, tweaking synth melodies and inserting the occasional shaker shuffle to keep the track moving in an understated fashion. "Turbulence" takes a similar path, but utilizes much different elements, beginning with a lopsided percussion loop and adding Uffe's own obscured vocals, a few off-kilter hits, and—again—just a touch of bluesy piano chords.

The EP's final original offering, "Fist Fight," is perhaps its most unexpected. Looping a swinging drum break, Uffe builds up a driving piece of disco house, on top of which he repeatedly sings the same phrase with a calm and cool delivery. The song's jumping guitar and popping melodies hint at a more upbeat affair, but the song never seems too outlandish, as its more withheld components—swirling background chords and an almost ambivalent vocal delivery—make it the kind of pop-flecked house tune that someone can really sink their teeth into. Add to all this two impressive and similarly unique remixes from O.P.T. and Brandt (of Brandt Brauer Frick) in collaboration with Emil Margetli Nyholm, and Stræss stacks up as a rather solid EP, one whose strength lies in its ability to be a chameleon of sorts within the current dance-music sphere.