Levon Vincent - Stereo Systems

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  • This single is Levon Vincent's first release since the brilliant Fabric 63, arguably the crowning moment of the New York producer's steady rise to fame. That mix was veritably crammed with exclusives—all of them, as you might expect, excellent—so it's high time one found its way onto wax. "Stereo Systems," one of the mix's understated highlights, is about as minimal as Vincent gets—not much more than an enormous, creamy kick drum overlaid with a trebly synth texture, a Moroder arpeggio gutted and left in the dark. It's all in the details though: the occasional punctuating dead-eyed squirls of noise, the exceedingly subtle tension and release dynamics that speak of deft fingers on careworn faders. Its confrontational minimalism makes it an intensely heady experience, but it's also pure body music—just an all-encompassing kick drum counting down the seconds to dance floor oblivion. A final surprise comes in the form of a gorgeous chorale-like coda: rich, flute-like chords that could be schmaltzy if overused but, after all the unremitting darkness, make for a moment of spine-tingling release. The pleasures don't let up on the B-side. "Together Forever" is terrifying even by Vincent's standards, an apocalyptic stomp over which bursts of noise spar with gaseous, tightly syncopated pads: the sound of a geyser field dancing, perhaps. Finally, "Speck's Jam" is a nice counterweight to all the gloom, and the most overtly New York thing here with its lithe double bass riff and slinky swing—although it's peppered with Vincent trademarks: Basic Channel-esque dub chords, rhythmic snippets of breathing. Make no mistake though, that pitch-black warehouse atmosphere still looms, ready to rear up and envelope us in an instant.
  • Tracklist
      A Stereo Systems B1 Together Forever B2 Speck's Jam