Aroy Dee - Sketches
The influence of setting has shaped music down the ages, from Handel's Water Music to the Beastie Boys' frequent paeans to Brooklyn. For Steven Brunsmann, urban life and the architecture of cities are are key sources of inspiration—the initials in his label, M>O>S, stand for "muziek over steiden," Dutch for "music about cities." M>O>S was once one of Brunsmann's recording names, first used on a string of EPs he released on Rush Hour at the turn of the millennium. These days he's settled on Aroy Dee, a name he took from a restaurant in Amsterdam that means "yummy" in Thai, which seems far too fluffy for Brunsmann's organic techno and stripped-back style of house.
A heavy air hangs over Sketches, creating a claustrophobic fuzziness that mimics the oppressive nature of city living. On "Pure," Brunsmann uses bubbly syncopation and melancholic swells to evoke that peculiar kind of urban loneliness, where you're never more than a few yards from humanity but interaction is fleeting. "Decay" is almost its mirror image, throbbing with the energy of thick 808 handclaps, squelching keys and a dirty bass undertow.
"Descent" dispenses with any percussion, settling for tidal synths and a simple, elegant kick. Brunsmann is at his most strident on "Ashes To Ashes," the record's purest dance floor moment, its sunken beats and fidgety melodies forging a vibrant, chaotic mood. But Sketches is at its best when it steps back from the clamour, those stolen moments when you catch your breath before throwing yourself back into the fray once more.
Thu / 7
01. Night Sky
05. Until The Music Dies
07. City Of Others
09. Ashes To Ashes