Matthew Styles - Aji-No-Moto

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  • I've generally associated Matthew Styles' productions with a certain back-to-basics ethic: No flashy effects, no funny stuff, just tightly constructed grooves with just enough oomph—melodic, textural, rhythmic and often unquantifiable—to make them really pop. That strategy serves him well on his latest EP for Running Back, which sounds as inspired as anything I've heard from him. "Montana," built atop a shimmying breakbeat and a jaunty little two-note bassline, starts out modestly, but it quickly opens up into phased, swirling chords; over nine minutes that seem to pass in a fraction of the time, it just keeps swelling and swelling, buoyed by ascending arpeggios that wouldn't sound out of place in an Emeralds record. For occasions when something a little less pastoral is called for, "Montana Bonus Beats" serves up four minutes of pure drum groove—a smart addition to the record. "Hot!" is more explicitly old-school, with a mischievous bassline inspired by classic acid house; in the latter half, a series of repeated vocal samples—"Hot! Hot! Hot hot hot hot!"—builds to a frenzy above staccato claps and snares. "Sixty Ways" also throws a glance backwards with a subtle nod to Deee-Lite and a nervous robo-disco bassline; it sounds a lot like the kind of thing Classic Music Company might have released back in the day. Again, it maintains a laser-like focus on the dance floor, but "no-frills" doesn't mean "one-dimensional": Midway through, the sinister mood gives way to a hazy eruption of soulful vocals that throw a reassuring light over it all before disappearing into the ether.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Montana A2 Montana Bonus Beats B1 Hot! B2 Sixty Ways B3 Hot! Loop