“I was becoming attracted to music," Sam Walker, of New York DJ-production duo Walker & Royce, stated in a 2013 interview, "that had more of an attitude.” He was reminiscing about his formative noughties years, when he was transitioning away from what he described as “that dark, chin-stroking sound” to indie-dance and electro, before switching over to the deep-house arts. But whatever the genre, that music-with attitude focus stuck with Walker and Gavin Royce: The pair’s latest release, the My Dream EP, hits hard via its two tracks of strutting, rumbling rhythms.
On their past several releases, notably last fall’s Sister EP (also released on Moda Black), Walker & Royce seem to be leaving the atmospheric drift of older cuts like “Drift” behind, instead focusing on music that’s gut-punching, a little diabolical and a whole lot of fun. The title track hits like an updated, acidic version of the kind of bottom-heavy sounds that Danny Tenaglia, Underground Sound of Lisbon, and their brethren were putting out on labels like on Tribal and Twisted back in the ’90s. But the cut, featuring a loping rhythmic structure that belies its toughness, is a bit weirder than that description implies. Rubbery and a bit otherworldly, it’s basically a bleepy bassline, chopped and processed vocal samples (mainly of someone stating “my dream," of course) and a healthy dose of dub effects. The cut is simple, sleazy and a bit otherworldly—and it would slay over a big system. B-side “Fur” works a similar territory—weirded-out vocal bits and elastic low end, with hums and whirrs dropping into the mix like punctuation points—but features a somewhat twitchier drum pattern that adds to the tune’s tension. Like “My Dream,” it’s a tough, cocky number, one that treads the line between party-time pump and end-of-the-night iniquity.