One of the most exciting micro-movements in dance music right now is happening in the overlap between "cosmic" synthesizer music and homespun house. More a sensibility than a style, it includes Luke Abbott's modular burble, Dan Snaith's Daphni project (and his remixes as Caribou) and Jeremy Greenspan's recent EP for Snaith's Jiaolong label. Count Wesley Matsell among its members as well: his 2008 debut for Border Community was all gravelly triplets and pealing oscillators, one part club (a la Four Tet or James Holden) to two parts pure, liquid ambient. In the years since, his remixes for the likes of Allez Allez and Avus have focused more explicitly on the dance floor, but they've remained suffused with churning arpeggios and shimmering harmonics.
You might not initially recognize Matsell's signature on his new EP for Kornél Kovács, Axel Boman and Petter Nordkvist's Studio Barnhus label. Somewhere along the way he's discovered jacking house grooves, and he digs into them with gusto on "The Unmaker" and "Mind vs. Mind," with overdriven 909s grinding like steel against whetstone. Lashed with staccato vocal samples and chord stabs, "The Unmaker" is a big, big track, a little bit Tensnake and a little bit Talabot, but blunter and heavier, unapologetic in its pursuit of the peak-time rush. "Mind vs. Mind" tips back towards the Border Community end of the spectrum, with chiming, heavily swung synth arpeggios put through their paces, giddy and a little deranged.
With a slightly more techno-oriented groove, "Ultra Vivid Parse" is even heavier than "The Unmaker." There's almost a hint of country hoe-down in the pitch-bent synth leads, and it all moves with a sticky, frenzied energy, like a drunk dancing in quicksand. Not an easy track to slot in a set, perhaps, but I can only imagine the ecstatic mayhem that would ensue. Finally, "Pyramideleven" reconnects with Matsell's roots with a pulsing agglomeration of arpeggios and gooey drones that wouldn't sound out of place on an Emeralds cassette.
Buy Wesley Matsell - Zones Within Zones at
Tracklist: Wesley Matsell - Zones Within Zones A1 The Unmaker
A2 Mind vs Mind
B1 Ultra Vivid Parse
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