Joy Orbison - BRKLN CLLN / J. Doe
Joy Orbison enjoyed one of the most spectacular debuts in recent dance music memory with "Hyph Mngo," a track that quickly caught on with Mary Anne Hobbs, irritated Simon Reynolds and captivated wide swathes of the 'net listenership, and not only diehard dubstep fans. His second single makes it eminently clear that "Hyph" was no fluke. While he employs similar techniques here, neither track feels like a retread. Where the full-bore "Hyph Mngo" and its backing track, "Wet Look," exploded from the speaker cones like solar storms, "BRKLN CLLN" is remarkably restrained. The rhythm still barrels forward, swung kicks lurching determinedly, rushing the beat, with steady shakers on the offbeats greasing their path. Again, the soundfield is abuzz with glistening sawtooth synths, with cottony vocal scraps swirling in middle distance lending an unmistakable sense of yearning. But syncopated chord stabs, borrowed from Midwestern American house and techno, counteract the forward motion, holding back the beats. The tune is more relaxed than "Hyph Mngo," but it's still animated by a delicious sense of push-and-pull, with the sense of drag heightening the drama as filters peel back.
Stylistically, "J. Doe" sounds more like "Hyph Mngo." Unrelenting, chopped-up vocal repetitions create an almost unbearable sense of tension, hammering away at intervals that musical conviction dictates should resolve but withholding the resolution, milking that electric sense of wrongness for all that it's worth. Rhythmically, it's torn between two possibilities, with rapid-fire 16th-note cymbals rubbing nervously against the vocal triplets while staggered kick drums halve the tempo. For all its complexity, there's not a sound out of place.
Having burst upon the scene with such a mammoth tune as "Hyph Mngo," it's to Orbison's credit that he's confident enough to dial it back a notch with his follow-up EP. For a producer so new to the scene, his ability to balance force and control in the service of canny emotional manipulations suggest thrilling things ahead.