Borai "Last Time Out" - XLR8R

Borai "Last Time Out"

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Bristol's Borai (a.k.a. Boris English) was October's shadowy partner for years, contributing something intangible to the pair's records on Apple Pips, Never Learnt, and BRSTL. On a solo tip, though, it seems he's found a home in Little White Earbuds founder Steve Mizek's Tasteful Nudes/Argot stable. Those labels can seem like a US-based Running Back or Live At Robert Johnson, as they're focused on what might be termed "pure DJ" tracks, with seemingly every release containing an assured floor-filler or two. "Moonlight on the Malago," Borai's prior record for Tasteful Nudes, moved with a boisterous, garagey flex. "Last Time Out" is no less resounding, but it has less swing and is more focused on big-room aesthetics.

The title track opens with some punchy kicks and hi-hats that sound like coins being shaken before a rumbling bassline, brash open hi-hats, wispy effects trails, and, most prominently, high-drama piano stabs take over. "Last Time Out" comes on strong, but it's a testament to Borai's prowess that it never feels disordered, or too over the top. The motorway-themed "Midnight Run," meanwhile, is indebted to vintage Carl Craig, as its rattling rhythm is underlined by a croaking bass motif and soaring pads (and, as revealed toward the end, what appears to be a sample of a revving engine). It's also more melodic than its predecessor, with its crystalline tones lending it a slightly mysterious air. In just two tracks, Borai covers both the peak of the party and the winding drive after.