Reckless with Your Love was pretty convincing proof that Azari & III hadn't fluked their way into the brilliantly reimagined old school house of Hungry for the Power, so when rumours began circulating that their third single Indigo was to revive the defining Chicago house imprint Trax Records, I rubbed my hands with glee. Location aside, and despite their own protests that they're not just Chicago purists, the duo's debut one-two punch sounded like some of the defunct label's best moments—Adonis, Mark Imperial, Marshall Jefferson, the anthemic campiness of "Baby Wants to Ride"—were being channeled from beyond via their small Toronto studio. Well, that anticipated release date came and went. Trax is still dormant, Azari & III stayed north of the border, and allegiances were shifted to Tiga's electro-inclined Turbo Recordings, with a view to a forthcoming debut album.
While the lyrics of Azari & III's previous singles have hinted at a quite desperate sense of alienation, they've been masked by the heady combination of Starving Yet Full's soprano and Fritz Helder's growling spoken word. "Ingido" takes a different tack, employing the two for little more than spectral moans and whispers, relying on wordless reverb, slow builds and repetition to provide both the dance floor groove and the intriguingly downcast mood—a balancing act they manage to pull off. Between throbbing bass pulses, skittering high hats, and icy shards of synth melody, occasional piano riffs provide both the track's warehouse pedigree and its moments of uplifting respite.
The vocalists are retired to the wings altogether for "The Worker", a b-side that the press release chirrups is "a bit too full-on for the album." It harkens back to the industrial gloom of "Manhooker," and given the right setting would make for some acid-tech devastation, but as a standalone is mechanically literal, with sweeping, scraping, gonging industrial sounds increasing in measured increments over a similarly measured acid track. The dub mix of "Indigo" acknowledges ears that pricked up to the duo's past releases, with dueling motifs of a descending kick drum and ascending synth line isolated for a bit less mood and a bit more bounce. Overall, Indigo may lack the immediate impact of Azari & III's previous EPs, but danceable dystopia still rarely sounds this good.
Buy Azari & III - Indigo at
Tracklist: Azari & III - Indigo A Indigo
B1 The Worker
B2 Indigo (Dub)
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