Sound Bytes : Delsin : Herva, Seawash, Erdbeerschnitzel and Low Jack

Herva - What I Feel
Herva
What I Feel EP
Delsin

Hervé Corti’s four tracks on this release for Delsin walk the line between dance music and something other. The overall production sensibility is strange and murky, not in a way that sounds merely lo-fi but in a way that’s almost disorienting. The punchy kick of “Gorilla’s Machine,” paired with bleepy melodic synths and samples, feels like a dancefloor burner until intermittent blasts of noise and interference interrupt the flow. Elsewhere, “Paranoid Thinking” swirls with sound, again with its rhythm section nearly lost within the dense arrangement of samples and patterns and phrases. ”Snow and Tears,” the last cut, is a bit more straightforward once it gains momentum, with a skittering hi-hat pattern over a deeper kick and looping spoken vocal bits. But it’s “Crocodile Tears” that is my favorite of the four, built around a tiny bass and clap combo that sounds like it’s coming through an AM radio receiver, a stark contrast to the usual crisp and deep low-end that is heard on most techno these days. It’s fascinating to me, sort of like a techno miniature, all tied together by a weird vocal sample: “So where is my dream?” “It is a continuation of reality.” “But where is my reality?” “It is at the end of your dream.” I’m unsure how these tracks would mix into a typically punchy DJ set, but the way they seem to exist between worlds (the club and headphones) resonates with me. Here’s hoping Delsin continues to push toward the outskirts of conventional dance music quality with releases such as this one.
Seawash - Pantomime
Seawash
Pantomime EP
Delsin

Seawash is an oddball signing for Delsin, kicking off apparently yet another off-shoot of the label (-e on the catalog number). I don’t know much about Seawash other than the act hails from Venice. The six tracks that comprise Pantomime are fairly varied and often juxtapose familiar dance music styles and sounds with downtempo sounds, samples, and/or treatments in unexpected ways. Many tracks sound like they’re built around triggered samples, like the R&B sounds that kick off “Revolution” before eventually expanding into something more dancefloor-friendly. “Close (Vox)” takes that a step further with a female vocal that sounds suspiciously like Aaliyah in cadence, the closest thing to a pop song you’ll find here. But I also enjoy the grey area of the title track, with its Field-like looped phrases cutting in and out of re-pitched drum loops, something that could very well have been an anthem but never quite made up its mind to be so. “Emeralds,” on the other hand, has a bit of a rock beat to it, moving at a faster clip and sounding like a shoegaze track that got sampled and overhauled into something wholly different. Topping it all off is the halfbeat groove of “Little John,” bristling with energy below the surface but anchored by its insistent snare strikes, a slightly melancholic finish to a rather eclectic set of tracks. I’m curious to hear more from Delsin along these lines, a nice change-up from the more typical (but equally solid) techno releases they’ve been unrolling lately.
Erdbeerschnitzel - Cushion
Erdbeerschnitzel
Cushion EP
Delsin

What an unusual trio of tracks from German producer Tim Keiling. The mood shifts pretty radically between tracks here, leading off with the smooth, filtered techy house of “Cushion.” Sampled flutes provide a dreamy refrain over dusty drum loops and glitchy accents, sounding like Boards of Canada decided to make a dancefloor anthem. But my favorite here is probably “Am Bossele,” the strangest dance track I’ve heard in some time. Snippets of vocals flit in and out of swirling synth arpeggios in such a way as to be almost completely disorienting. A big fat bassline wanders throughout, pinning the otherwise elusive arrangement to a thick, heavy bass kick. It recalls the punchiness of Akufen’s “Quebec Nightclub” era, but with Keiling’s own unique touch. What a contrast it is, then, from “Crossroads,” the third and final track. It shares “Am Bossele“‘s dense kick drum, but plods away at a much slower tempo, suggesting something closer to Balearic disco in its smooth production, full of open-fifth synths and disembodied vocals. Oddly the three tracks work quite well to provide a broad journey in such a short amount of time. Cool stuff for fans of house music that strays left of center.
Low Jack - Free Pyjamas
Low Jack
Free Pyjamas EP
Delsin

Delsin is on a streak! This EP from mysterious producer Low Jack starts off strong with the rude rhythm of the title cut, with loops that sound in and out of sync layering on top of one another. It’s off just deliberately enough to sound just right, with details colliding here and there in approximate syncopation and then snapping into position. Vocal stabs and filtered phrases flesh out the groove, all held together by a deep, thudding bass kick and warehouse reverb. “LJ’s Jam” follows with more of the same industrial chug behind it, every sound with some thick room reverb or distortion on it. It’s raw and physical stuff, held together by Low Jack’s vocal loop (unintelligible among the layers of dirt and noise in the track’s mix). “The White Towel” also has a crunchiness to it that is gritty but less pummeling than the first two tracks. Airy pads give it more of a house groove, with some classic Korg M-1 sounding organ and, again, swirling, filtered vocal samples. Like the Erdbeerschnitzel EP that followed it (see review above), it’s nice to hear Delsin exploring some varied sounds on the outskirts of conventional house and techno, functional enough to work well on the floor but also unique enough to stand alone.

delsinrecords.com

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Sound Byte Reviews by Matthew Mercer of Ear Influxion.
Republished with permission of the author.