So far the uplifting aspects of Azari & III's brand of house revivalism have taken center stage, but if you've made your way through the flipside of one of their records, chances are you've gotten a sense that some darker material lies beneath. With Manic, the lead single from their full-length debut, this comes to the fore.
As was the case with their previous singles, "Manic"'s appeal is grounded in the way its vocals are employed. Or, in this case, even the samples. The rising vocal hum that repeats over and over, like a caustic mantra unwillingly looping its way through your subconscious, is somehow balanced out by their twisted pop sensibility. The vocal hook sounds paranoid, sure, but it's not nearly as anxiety-inducing as the wilder musings of someone along the lines of, say, Green Velvet.
DJ Sneak's remix succeeds by staying true to the original, only adding a bit of shuffle to the drums to give it a looser, more natural swing. The Finger Prince, on the other hand, seems to be gunning for the Boys Noize faithful, toying with a heavy buzz effect that sounds like pulling cables from live speakers. Maceo Plex crafts a thick, floor-ready groove, but might have benefited from a dub version. The original's swelling synths can't carry the vocals on Plex's characteristically smoother take once they've been plucked from the original.
Still, out of all those included, only the Borderline Remix falls flat, mainly because of their decision to pitch the vocals down so low that they fall somewhere between demonic and cartoonish. If anything, that misstep just reaffirms how well vocalist Starving Yet Full and Fritz Helder complement Azari & III's production—even when they're heavily processed and darker than ever.
Tracklist: Azari & III - Manic01. Manic (Maceo Plex Remix)
02. Manic (DJ Sneak Maniatico Remix)
03. Manic (Borderline Remix)
04. Manic (The Finger Prince Static Situation Mix)
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