KiNK vs. Marc Romboy Sampledelics Vol. 2

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KiNK and Marc Romboy are well paired, and not just because both musicians seem to thrive on collaborations. A touch of European tech-house gloss flashes up at times from their tracks, even as they remain fixated on '90s house for inspiration. As their extensive discographies make clear, neither artist has really articulated a signature sound, but it's not as if that's stopped them from putting out serious bangers and a slew of classy runners-up: KiNK's "Hand Made" and Stephan Bodzin & Marc Romboy's "Phobos" are evidence of consistent talent boiling over. To admit a certain correctness in their arrangements isn't a knock on the quality of their tunes, as both appear to present themselves more as craftsmen; leaving few fingerprints on the tracks they put out, they nevertheless push every aspect toward established underground ideals. Sampledelics Vol. 2, a three-track EP on Romboy's Systematic label, is every bit as well crafted and seemingly effortless as one would expect. There are no real surprises, just a few taut, structured house jams with a long shelf life.

Sure enough, "Over and Out" wastes no time in opening the EP. A slow filter sweep unveils a brigade of pumping piano chords, impatient for the flanger that soon screams across the sky, the claps that come in on the two and four, the open hi-hats strewn between, and finally, of course, the vocal that's been taking shape all along and is eager to burst out. Having already built up a classic-sounding and deftly engineered track, the song's second half allows itself to explore a divergent path: an interlude arrives with some lilac-colored pads before a break drops down in perfect slo-mo, translating ferocious house into a stargazing chillout tent for a brief moment. True to its name, "Pump It!" is in comparison a no-frills jack-a-thon featuring jaggedly syncopated snares and a charmingly naive-sounding hardcore riff. It's a brash and assertive centerpiece, but the usual compositional elegance remains, even as KiNK and Romby push into the red. "Delusion of the Enemy" closes out the EP with a silky, chilled disco loop that relishes its own torpor but lacks the others' hold on our attention: when it comes to this breed of producer, we like following every tasteful nudge.