Throwing parties across London for about a year, the EarToGround crew have pursued quite a particular sound, hosting DJs from labels like Stroboscopic Artefacts and CLR. Now they've turned their hand to creating, rather than just performing, with Programm being the inaugural record in their wax-only offshoot. At the moment, there's a plenty of this ilk around, but strong sound design and small compositional touches prevent Programm from blending in with the pack.
The title track is structured around constant, subtle movement. There's rarely a moment when its steely off-beat stabs aren't being wound into a taut, cascading twang or eased back to a more benign chiming. The low end plays a part in these minute peaks and troughs too, slipping away gradually at the tensest points before lurching back in to shift things up a gear. It's hard-hitting music for sure, but the bass manipulations never feel gratuitous or meat-headed.
In slimming the original's weighty kicks, the Shifted mix finds plenty of extra space. There's more to it than just that, however. The influence of dub is far stronger here, the original's tight, steely synth line teased out to cavernous proportions. To match the less oppressive mood, the track's mid-section is filled with small, trembling cymbals and hats. They don't so much foster rhythm as spread out like a fine mist. The Truss mix takes the opposite route, intensifying the original's imposing elements and simplifying the rolling structure. The latter is achieved by restraining the off-beat stabs to a more constant timbre. Instead, tension is built by a thin, sustained pad in the track's middle. The strictly ferrous percussion has also been modified, with snapping claps bolted on at various points.
Buy Dax J / Chris Stanford - Programm at
Tracklist: Dax J / Chris Stanford - Programm A Programm
B1 Programm (Shifted Remix)
B2 Programm (Truss Remix)