With a resume as impressive as Claude VonStroke's, nowadays every release is an event. "Who's Afraid of Detroit?" was labelled the best track of 2006 by Richie Hawtin, and both "Deep Throat" and "The Whistler" hit influential charts. At this point, people expect innovative boundary-pushing tunes.
"Scarlet Macaw" kicks off with a straight drum pattern of tribal/wood block sounds that soon becomes overlaid by dark jungle strings. To some extent, I wasn't sure of how to feel about this track. On one hand, the rhythm bumps along nicely with plenty of flow and motion, and the chords above are atmospheric and moody with a direct late-night feel; and as usual, VonStroke's sounds can almost be grabbed out of the air. Analogue punctuations swoop in periodically with a nasty edge, and generally this is solid, effective and skilful material.
But that's exactly the issue: that's pretty much all there is to it. I really expected more, something which would introduce something new to dance music; but this is CVS playing it straight, and it feels like you've heard it before. Only the middle section which deconstructs the track, stops it and builds it from the ground up offers real interest, and that feels deliberate, as if it was added at the end to compensate for the relative lack of creativity elsewhere. Compared to "Who's Afraid of Detroit?," it's a disappointment.
The remix from up-and-comer Edgar Dirksen takes the hypnotism up a notch with a circular riff that hides in the background, and he deepens it, with techier drums too. It's a logical club optimisation of the original, but for a truly great VonStroke tune, we'll have to wait till the next release.
Buy Claude VonStroke - Scarlet Macaw EP at
Tracklist: Claude VonStroke - Scarlet Macaw EPA Scarlet Macaw
B1 Scarlet Macaw Unstrung
B2 Scarlet Macaw (Edgar Dirksen Remix)