The latest producer to arrive under an anonymous guise, the previously unheard U, appears on George FitzGerald's ManMakeMusic imprint with the label's first 10" vinyl endeavor. Twisting together refracted bits of UK shuffle, the moniker's initial outing approaches moody house from an outsider's perspective, one generously cloaked in rich textures and dense grooves.
Whether intentional or not, each side of this vinyl appears to be its own entity of sorts. (It's worth noting that both sides also employ alliteration in the song titles.) The a-side offerings, "Eah" and "Evil Spirits," take on more familiar forms, offering skipping garage rhythms buried beneath the former's Chicago-style chords and the latter's distant piano loop, ultimately falling somewhere between the efforts of Gerry Read and, more recently, Vessel. The songs go on to fall somewhere between the efforts of Gerry Read and, more recently, Vessel. Each tune crackles at its edges with layers of noise grinding away as the crunchy, overdriven drums roll beneath, taking "Eah" to a bit bouncier territory while "Evil Spirits" sinks into a much more contemplative tone.
On the b-side, U slows down the tempo with a pair of off-kilter, decidedly not dancefloor-oriented tracks, "Haunted" and "Heaven." The former chops a male vocal harmony over the kind of ghostly pads the song's title would suggest, the producer placing various rhythmic glitches—perhaps captured moments before a computer burst into flames—amidst the swirling core, eventually sinking them in between a slow, methodical four-on-the-floor pattern for the song's final minute. Even more unexpected is the closing "Heaven," which takes on a lighter tone during its brief excursion—the track's run time is under two minutes—into dreamy (but still considerably twisted) territory, a trip anchored by '90s-indebted house breaks. In the end, it wraps up a strangely enticing EP that, for better or worse, leaves us with no clearer picture as to who U is, or what he/she/they are up to exactly.