Ewan Smith is among the UK's new wave of house producers, though he prefers a more reserved sound than some of his garage-influenced peers. The Disarray EP on Hypercolour from earlier this year found him in a reflective mood, and his first EP for Secretsundaze sees him withdrawing further inward.
The four-tracker is a particularly shadowy take on Secretsundaze's usually lighter sound. The result is luxurious and sexy, even at its most languid. Smith exploits Underground Quality's zoned-out aesthetic, but does so with a giddy zip befitting of his homeland. "Times" drops melismatic vocal cuts and ethereal keys on galloping drums that almost feel too rough for the delicate structure they're supporting. "Be Dark," meanwhile, spruces up its cavernous abode with an organ melody that slides around the bend of every bar like it's trying to outpace the beat.
"What You Need" is simple—blissful waves of melody riding a workmanlike beat—but the way the sounds are filtered, thinning out as if put through a sieve, adds some detail. Starting out as the smoothest jam, with its gentle bassline and softened string stabs, "Squared" unexpectedly drops a sharp hi-hat, threatening to poke holes in the serenity below. It's this kind of contrast that raises Smith's work above the fray of UK house producers.