- Chicago's Hakim Murphy has been on prolific form lately. This year alone, he's released half a dozen EPs, not all of them essential, but each representing some subtle iteration of his singular vision for house music. Murphy's location is a clue as to the nature of that vision. His sparse, unfussy rhythmic workouts hark back to Chicago's foundational jack tracks, but thrive on asymmetrical loop patterns, fiddly synth figures and the balletic interplay of rhythms and melodies.
The tracks on Chiffre, for Seattle label Mindshift, are among the finest of Murphy's recent output. "Tegal E," with its murky, rough-edged bassline, is surprisingly aggressive, but its impact is diffused by its complexity. Murphy's beats have a morse code-like quality, as if ticker-tapes of data were being fed into old Roland hardware. Cumulatively, this detail creates a breathless but puzzling sort of momentum. "Gangsta Glide" deploys almost exactly the same materials—garden shed percussion, a dextrous bassline, drifting chords—but the execution is far more languid. DJ Spider, one of Murphy's occasional collaborators, turns in a characteristically unsettling version of "Nabodani." Rolling along in itchy stasis, its uneventfulness is almost chilling, an effect that's aided by the wonderfully apocalyptic Planet Of The Apes quote. Only Mindshift stalwart Murdoc lets us down: his version of "Vatitio" feels, in such adventurous company, rather staid.
A1 Tegal E
A2 Nabodani (DJ Spider Remix)
B1 Vatitio (Murdoc Remix)
B2 Gangsta Glide