Why do so many DJs chart their music? Take a look at the tracklist for Rebirth's recent compilation, mixed by Larry Heard, and you'll see plenty of big house producers, Motor City Drum Ensemble, Andrés and Tevo Howard among them. But it seems to me that Rebirth's broad appeal is down to something less obvious, something that's illustrated by ILO's Prayer EP, Rebirth's latest single. Across his three tracks, the Icelandic producer is always willing to go a bit further: more vocals, more hooks, more production flourishes.
On "Hiddenlane," ILO fuses a slow and scratchy 113 BPM drum track, a bulbous bassline and a nice chord sequence—certainly enough to carry the track—but he doesn't stop there. "Want to feel that body heat," commands a booming voice. The sample is scrambled, modulated and, later, extended, a trick that won't please everyone but one that gives the track some character. "Put A Jack On It" is also slow and heavy, and also uses a Chicago house-style vocal (this time female), but deploys it more subtly. ILO waits until the halfway point to drop a ravey synth line, and continues to use it sparingly. The same basic template as the other tracks is used on "Prayer," although here the drums hit harder. Again, vocals dominate—there's a monologue low in the mix and a stuttered, breathy section. A low-pass filter is gradually swept across the track in its final two minutes, essentially creating an extended fade. This will put off some DJs, but like the rest of this EP—and lots of the Rebirth catalogue—it'll give people something to remember.