It's not easy to put your finger on exactly what Brooklyn-by-way-of-Chicago producer Brenmar is making nowadays. Is it ghetto house? Is it futuristic R&B? Is it the smoothest take on juke ever attempted? Truly, his productions are somewhere between all of those sounds. But no matter where in the wide world of bass music Brenmar finds himself, his tracks have always come completely ready for the dancefloor, and Let's Pretend, his third official EP, continues with his efforts, featuring three surefire heaters and a brilliant remix from the most recognizable ambassador of New York's ballroom scene, DJ MikeQ.
Where Brenmar's Let Me Know (Tasting) EP (released on Sinden's Grizzly imprint earlier this year) was comprised of huge, layered club tunes, Let's Pretend is noticeably pared down, with the productions appearing in much leaner, more efficient forms. Fortunately, this does nothing to take away from Brenmar's sleek rhythms, and actually renders the tuned percussion, frantic snares, and thudding kick drums even more immediate and inviting. The Chris Brown-sampling title track kicks things off on the right foot with a skittering, bouncing bassline and a few choice synth patterns, but the next two offerings are Let's Pretend's best.
Brenmar's raunchy sex anthem, "Temperature Rising," folds just a touch of space-disco into the tune's mix of bubbling booty bass, glassy arpeggios, and slightly glitched R&B vocals. This is followed by one of the producer's darkest songs to date, "Done (Don't Luv Me No More)." From the onset, the track is practically empowering in its anger, thanks to a sinister chord progression and pitched-up female vocals that stay fixed on the stern statement, "Don't love me no more." Brenmar uses the selection to show off some of his best drum programming; he drops a handful of perfectly executed ascending/descending tom fills over an impeccable half-time beat. Somewhere around the 1:30 mark, the drums completely take over the mix with a speaker rattling, larger-than-life kick pattern and steady clap leading the way.
The EP's closing cut is a rework of "Done" by NY DJ/producer and ballroom posterboy DJ MikeQ. The artist restricts the original's rhythms into a much more rigid (albeit stuttering) sequence, and ditches Brenmar's half-time for a steady, propulsive beat with rolling snares and classic drum machine sounds. The results are equally as dance-worthy as the EP's other offerings, and helps make Let's Pretend what is possibly Brenmar's most consistent release to date, as the entire effort never even approaches a lull. If these tracks are any indication, the tunesmith seems to have locked into his step—flexing his production strengths with preciseness and flair to yield masterful pieces of club music. Any DJ who dips their repertoire into the ghetto-tinged strains of bass music, but doesn't have at least one (if not all) of these tracks at their disposal, is surely doing their dancefloors a disservice.