Patrice Scott Euphonium - XLR8R

Patrice Scott Euphonium

A Detroit house master unveils his majestic debut LP.
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For some people, deep house is not a fad or a fashion—it is a way of life. Corny as that sounds, it is most certainly true for a career practitioner like Detroit’s Patrice Scott. While it would be easy for someone like him to distance himself from the genre in the wake of it being so pillaged by a million modern-day copycats, he has instead continued to do his do—to lead by example. After building up a healthy back catalog of EPs over the last decade, mostly on his own Sistrum label, he now offers up a debut full length that makes zero concessions to anything but deep, slowly unfolding and absorbingly emotive music.

What that means is that Euphonium is a comforting and familiar affair that contains no real shocks or surprises. What it does contain, though, is definitive deep house in various guises, from fully horizontal and immersive to more unsettled, propulsive stuff that strikes right at your heart. Even though dance music isn't supposed to work in the album format (i.e., as a collection of tracks), because each cut here is so fully formed and has such an arcing narrative, the LP never grows stale or staid.

There is an otherworldly, intergalactic feel to much of Scott's work here: Rather than earthy and human reference points, cuts like "Distr5th" travel to the edges of our galaxy, with smeared pads and warming solar winds the backdrop to steely bass riffs. "Hysteria," too, is a cosmic affair where aurora-borealis–style light displays stretch out over quickened drums and polyphonic synths, while the title track marks not only the album's midpoint, but also somewhat resets the mood and encourages you to sink back down into Scott's swelling, golden, oceanic chords.

From there, the Scott continues to balance motion with emotion, slowly picking up the pace again before rounding things out with the majestic "Music Therapy Pt.2". There is a poignant, weighty sense of finality to this track that concludes the 55 minute journey to perfection. It also shows that, despite his concentrated palette and focus on deepness, Scott is more than capable of conjuring up many different moods at will.