There is a quiet defiance to Ian Pooley's first album since 2008. Arriving on his own label and called, flatly, What I Do, it smacks of a producer who feels he has nothing left to prove. This is Ian Pooley. This is what he does. Take it or leave it. It's ironic, then, that the veteran, a musician supposedly blasé about the trends and fads swirling around him, has rarely sounded so now. His feathery-light, pop-tinged take on Chicago house could easily be the work of the latest young buck on Hot Creations or Wolf + Lamb.
Apart from two versions of "Get It On"—time-out excursions into drowsy, looped jazz-funk (think: a very cuddly Andy Stott)—there is little here to confound the casual listener. For the most part, you get precisely the polished, coolly considered, somewhat sterile house music one would expect from a producer who is passionate about his craft but who, for several years, released music through a major label (V2). The upbeat side of this is exemplified by the title track (a delve into the filtered house and disco loops that once made DJ Sneak so exciting) and the trademark Brazilian carnival rhythms, earworm vocal samples and bloopy vintage synths of "I Got You." The downtempo flipside is the Kraftwerk-indebted "Compurhythm," with its stylised moody sheen, or "Over," wherein Pooley merges purring funk and cinematic jazz.
He is a master craftsmen. One whose work, thanks to his use of analogue equipment, has an unusually warm, Omar-S heft to it. There is, however, a fine line, which Pooley crosses and recrosses, between skilfully-composed house music and the kind of bloodless aural wallpaper you find on Hed Kandi compilations. Curiously, What I Do is most interesting when it goes pop, particularly on the vocal track "1983." A slice of blue-eyed electro soul, it sounds like David Sylvian mimicking Hall & Oates and, like "Kids Play," it is quietly and persuasively strange. Pooley should go off-piste more often.
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Tracklist: Ian Pooley - What I Do 01. Tale of Big City (Intro)
02. Swing Mode
03. I Got You
04. Bring Me Up feat. Dominique Keegan
05. Kids Play
06. Get It On (Pt.1)
07. What I Do
09. 1983 feat.HÃƒÂ¶gni Egilsson
10. What U Love
11. Tale of the Big City
12. Get It On (Pt.2)
13. I Should Be Sleeping
15. Get Back
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