If you could pick any feeling, any sort of mood to perpetually color your worldview, would you choose bliss? In dance music especially, we've seen multiple generations try to distill their conception of pure euphoria into the simplest audible terms, only to have the idea become driven to point of redundancy time and time again. At this point, it makes sense that an artist might find it difficult to approach such a seemingly universal concept head-on, seeing as how it repeatedly gets chased to the point of perversion. Maybe it's in response, or maybe we've just cycled back, but regardless, there's an emerging crop of producers—acts like Blondes, Teengirl Fantasy and New York's Magick Mountain—who seem to inherently recognize that they are pursuing a convoluted ideal, and are focusing on finding different ways to approach paradise sidelong.
Both tracks on this single are stunning in their own right, but eventually it becomes clear that "One for My Ego" is the lesser of the two productions (ironically enough). Certain elements are almost perfect; the song builds around a glassy swell that rushes like blood flow through the stereo field, allowing crystalline vocal shards to glide through it with near-utopian grace. Still, despite its majestic core, things still feel slightly out of balance; some of the percussive textures seem noticeably dry or stiff sitting on top of these soft melodic nuances, particularly the random digital crinkling or the household field recordings scattered throughout.
"Plains," on the other hand, could be the best instance of outsider house this year, barring Teengirl Fantasy's spectacular "Cheaters." Centering itself around lilting horn refrains and piano house refractions, this one recalls the bittersweet grandeur of Massive Attack's "Unfinished Sympathy," only pared down with the earnest simplicity of an early rave anthem. Beauty and restraint are in equilibrium, and the fragile sampled vocals remain safely moored as the track courses with windswept nostalgia. Dance culture has always subscribed to a certain kind of hedonistic imperative, but perfect joy is elusive and fleeting: Sometimes all you need is that knowing solace to hold a sparkling dance floor vigil.
- Published /
Mon / 29 Nov 2010
- Words /