Huxley - No Matter What EP
|Tracks||A1. No Matter What|
A2. Cant Sleep
|B1. No Matter What (MK Dub)|
4. No Matter What (MK Mix) (Digital Only)
Vinyl & Digital
12th November 2012
Unknown - We will find out!
Currently residing at the top of a rather large production tree as one of London’s leading beatmakers in the Underground House scene, Huxley. This release is delivered on the British powerhouse Tsuba Records (063), a label to which he is no stranger having released a string of solo, and collaborative, original work. Huxley once again manages to fuse infectious, upfront and grooving basslines with dance floor and DJ friendly arranging to leave all parties satisfied.
Here, the excellent Huxley, a man who grew up throughout the UKGarage breakthrough years, learning and earning his production stripes on everything 2-step, 4x4 is complimented by Marc Kinchen, a man with a top pedigree spanning the past twenty years and who’s championed the US Garage sounds for much of that.
No Matter What
Easing out of the rhythmic blocks for this one, Huxley places immediate emphasis on the vocal. Filtering in steeply in the first 30secs, the chopped ‘No Matter What’ phrase flies around the mix as he gets to work building the typical Huxley sound that’s elevated him to such plaudits in recent times.
Teasing bass pulses join the kick and chunky off-shake whilst building up the pressure and the hooky, filtered chords follow on adding to the pre-drop journey. It’s a short ride until the first drop at 1min20secs, although you realise its merely a precursor to the second half of the phrase, which is where chords are brought back, full vocal is left to sing out and it all comes together with aplomb.
From hereon it’s much the same; nice, simple, yet intelligently composed, deep house music. An expert lesson in arrangement, proving why Huxley’s been able to provide great balance between quality underground music for DJs, and accessible and danceable music for the floor.
Alert and abrupt, whippy synth horn stabs lead the way here providing the stiff set counter rhythm, to that of the rumbling sub-pounding of the low end. The introduction of the above mentioned stabs are guided in by some nifty automation, initially lashing about over the 4x4 kick and off-hat and smoothly unraveling to settle brazenly over the top of the grooving bass. Here, Huxley fuses a simple and classic House 4x4 arrangement with two bold components that are at times used completely separate from each other and carry the ‘Can’t Sleep’ vibe along with ease. When they do meet they go hand-in-hand, which is surprising given their relative lead-like qualities.
Another track in which Huxley makes it sound so simple, but as they say, the devil is in the detail and that’s where Huxley shines the most, elevating the seemingly simple productions to something that do far more within the arrangement and mix.
No Matter What MK Dub)
Here, Marc brings groove in from a different angle on his MK (re)Mix here. Thick, pounding 4x4 kick and hats dictate matters early on, with vocal stabs similarly used like that of in the original. The lack of keys and other mid-range elements set the premise that this is going to be a straight up groover. And that it is. Shortly after the minute MK teases the mix with a complete drop of all vital production ‘organs’, leaving only that of some chords, reverb and effected vocal, but drops in to a sweet second 32bars of grooving bass rhythm.
Further layering is called upon when the main breakdown is passed two-thirds along. Synth, bass and high-lines all culminate to create an infectious melodic-bass-rhythm that cover all points of the mix in and around that of the pumping kick, glossed over hi-percs and closed hats. A top alternative from the big man, MK!
No Matter What (MK Mix) (Digital only)
Working from the MK Dub template, the Mix…erm, mix, is a simple exchange of parts introducing the layered main body about 32bars early. A fair addition to the package for those digital lovers out there, but in truth, all of the hard work has been achieved by the time your reach the Dub anyhow, which is fine by us here at Hot Plastic!
It’s good to see these two producers paired up on Tsuba 063. To be frank, I think it’s been a while coming, although in the same breath I will also add it’s come at the right time too. They come together and offer a modern house/garage package with noticeable UK and US flavours. Suffice to say it’s a quality release that will only add to the ever-increasing reputation of all three parties involved. Top draw Underground House music.
Reviewed By - Leon Clarkson