Though he spent quite some time toiling in Chicago's house scene, the lush, sometimes melancholic synth work of Amir Alexander's music owes a whole lot to Detroit. "Gutter Flex" cements that apparent Motor City connection. Although it gallops at a brisk, housey shuffle of 125 BPM, the track's synth melody falls in big globs of droopy melody that threaten to gum up the track's gears. It's carried by an audacious boogie bassline that wriggles every which way, making it a bit like Instra:mental's sadsack early Autonomic work—in other words, downcast yet vigorous. Flipside "Dark Dirt" feels like a subtle rework, favouring the same methodical drum pattern and stone-faced murmurings about "the underground" but chopping up the synths into finer shapes.
The other two tracks showcase a broken sound more in line with Alexander's work on Plan B Recordings. "Black Rain" features a spindly, descending chord progression that duels with the typically snaky bassline, while "Mystical Eroticism" recalls the more psychedelic end of the Detroit techno spectrum. Long, yawning chords effervesce over slippery snares that beat up a high-frequency storm, like the frothy splashing of choppy waves. The forlorn beauty that Gutter Flex explores isn't exactly new territory, but when it's done this well there's really no better place to be.
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Tracklist: Amir Alexander - Gutter Flex A1 Gutter Flex
A2 The Black Rain
B1 Dark Dirt
B2 Mystical Eroticism