With only three EPs in the can, Swedish duo Genius of Time is hardly prolific. Yet across its short discography is a unified aesthetic of a new-school sensibility applied to an old-school sound, one that offers a melodic and entirely non-moody take on house music that's entirely uplifting without feeling saccharine. Tuffa Trummor is very much in this vein, but it also hints at a different side of the group first heard on Gliese 518g, its highly coveted, vinyl-only release from last year. This is streamlined material, as the pair's musings have been stripped down into two club-ready slices of melodic and poppy house.
"Tuffa Trummor Med Synt" leads things off on the a-side with a bright dance track illuminated by wiggling touches of warm analog synthesis. It's wide-eyed and happy, with the same kind of euphorically goofy shuffle that made Todd Terje's "Inspector Norse" such a big hit in the clubs last summer. But unlike that song, this is house in layers as opposed to song-oriented disco. Beneath the hooky stabs, there are all sorts of clever pieces to dissect: odd space noises, weird vocal samples, and snappy, 12-bit bongos. The arrangement is tight and well executed, tying together a number of simple moments into a complex whole that has enough variation to hold a listener or dancefloor for the entire track. The only fault, if it can be called one, is that the production feels too clean—it's so smooth that it edges close to sterile.
Conversely, b-side "Tuffa Trummor Med Rost" is what really sets the release apart. Following in the minimal tradition of Gliese 518g b-side "Science Fiction," it explores the more rhythmic side of the group’s output. Sampled percussion seemingly pulled from Martin Buttrich’s "Meeting Dave Dish" is coupled with a subtle old-school breakbeat, resulting in a driving piece that never loses its cool. Instead, it drops into an epic breakdown for a centerpiece moment that ought to make this an understated dancefloor favorite. Like the a-side, it's all about the arrangement; in less capable hands, such a heavy breakdown might deflate the drive, but Genius of Time's attention to detail and clever pacing is, as usual, extremely effective.