Since his string of under-the-radar, vinyl-only singles made a stir a few years back, Cottam has stepped out from underneath his cloak of anonymity to reveal himself, not as a Burial-esque mystery producer but rather as a former DJ who rekindled his love for dance music via a copy of Ableton and an admiration for the slow-motion house of Mark E and The Revenge. (Also, he didn't want to get sued; his original 12"s were rife with potential copyright infractions, which prompted the anonymous angle.) The Relapse EP marks the Preston-based artist's second outing for Aus in as many years, and finds the man folding more bits of techno into his silky, slow-brewing productions while enlisting Cosmin TRG for remix duties.
Cottam is certainly not one to rush things. His steady, but by no stretch urgent, output has yielded about two EPs each year following his initial 2009 run of untitled singles. Relapse actually marks the producer's first really visible effort of 2012. It would appear that Cottam's affinity for taking his time is a theme that also stretches into the way he crafts his songs, not only because of their slowed-down tempos (both of the original tunes here operate well below 120 bpm), but also because of the elongated track lengths; the title tune clocks in at over seven minutes and "I Remember" at almost 10. To his credit, these extended outings never drag on and the patience displayed in the steady progression and methodical builds are rewarding to get lost in. With Cottam's steady hand, "Relapse" seamlessly morphs its moody chords and phased drum rolls into a driving excursion of deep and funky house, eventually adding on all sorts of clattering percussion and delayed horn samples as well as a gliding synth lead complete with just a touch of acid flair. "I Remember" gets to similar ends from more familiar beginnings; launching with looped hand drums and alternating chords, the meticulously assembled track waits four minutes before diving full on into acid territory with a classically tweaked line that somehow doesn't overwhelm the rich combination of percussion and warm chords it rests above.
On its own, these two Cottam productions are a solid pair of tunes from a man whose quiet presence on the scene has somewhat undersold the strengths of his talent. But Aus' A&R likely deserves some credit for giving this record just a bit of an extra push by offering Cosmin TRG a chance to rework the title track, as the Romanian producer turns in one of his deepest and most shimmering workouts of recent memory. Pushing the tempo up and transforming the song with a more forceful touch, Cosmin TRG's remix is an ace, and one that helps make this three-track EP a versatile piece of vinyl.