As unlikely a pair as they may seem, Strategy (a.k.a. Paul Dickow) and Peverelist (a.k.a. Tom Ford) can both trace substantial portions of their respective catalogs back to dub and Jamaican music. This influence forms the backbone of "Return from the Stars," Dickow's latest 12" (which features a remix from Ford on the flip), and first for Bristol label Idle Hands. The two pieces here take classically Jamaican elements and shape them into dancefloor forms—just don't call either one dub techno.
Dickow's title track opens with rustling percussion and a speedy kick, and quickly inserts a rubbery, curvaceous, up-and-down bassline. It's the entrance of ghostly, watery organ chords and wailing melodica that really gives the piece its tropical legs, though. Where so many dance-music interpretations of these elements seep into soggy lethargy, Dickow's light touch keeps his track spritely. On his remix, Ford offers a subtler interpretation, with a swung rhythmic bump taking center stage. The producer infuses it with thick subs, which are especially highlighted by an abrupt drop near the end, and he splices bits of melodica and Radiophonic whirs and burbles throughout. As with so many of Ford's productions, it really begins to make sense when cranked up, or heard in context of a mix, as there are few attributes for the casual listener to really grasp hold of. It is not as rhythmically dense as some of his major works, but it nevertheless provides a suitable reflection of Dickow's blueprint.