Maxmillion Dunbar - Woo Daps

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  • His reference points—boogie, house and hip-hop, a bit of new age—may be everywhere these days, but the way Andrew Field-Pickering combines them is unmistakably his own. Even when it's rollicking along at full pace, there is a wonderful sense of contentment to his music, a relentless positivity that's infectious. It's a sound he's been exploring since 2010's Cool Water—both solo and as one half of Beautiful Swimmers—and one he channels into his label, Future Times. Its pinnacle, however, was House Of Woo, an album Field-Pickering released as Maxmillion Dunbar earlier this year. Woo Daps is a follow-up to that album, released on Bandcamp with a pay-what-you-like price tag, but it's much more than an odds-and-sods afterthought. Somewhere between a mixtape, an album and a recorded live set, this 50-minute track-collage presents a smattering of new material alongside album tracks that have been rearranged, recombined with elements of other songs or remixed by friends and associates (the "Live Jam Mix" of "Kangaroo," with Peaking Lights' Aaron Coyes and Future Times artist Protect-U, is a meandering delight). Granted, there is some evidence that this release hasn't been assembled with the care you'd afford to a fully-fledged album. The opener, a stripped back version of "Coins For The Canopy," is rather uneven, and every now and then the joins between tracks are allowed to linger just a little too long. But in another sense Woo Daps feels, if anything, more focussed than its parent album. Field-Pickering delights in presenting the contrast in which his sound is rooted—robust percussion vs drifting ambience—in even starker terms than usual. A version of "For Mozy," for example, pairs aqueous synth chords with sprightly electro drums. At the 20-minute mark, boisterous percussion is left to run itself ragged before giving way to a gorgeous rendering of "Slave To The Vibe." Somewhere between these two extremes, there are straight-laced dance floor moments (such as Ttam Renat's remix of "Loving The Drift") and the occasional wonderful surprise, like the somnolent hip-hop-ish number that comes in around 27:20. Field-Pickering has described Woo Daps as just "one version" of this material, and you do get the feeling that these elements could be rearranged in any number of other ways and still work beautifully. And if the whole thing sounds a bit too live in places—the drums, in particular, sometimes sit flatly on the mix—then the strength of the material more than makes up for it. Every now and then, Field-Pickering's voice surfaces to wish "peace" upon his listeners, like some sort of hippy waymarker guiding us though the chaos. Woo Daps is as close as contemporary dance music gets to a new age relaxation tape, and that's no bad thing.
  • Tracklist
      01. Coins For The Canopy (Dolo Constellation Dub) + Kangaroo brass 02. For Mozy (OG Ambience) + spare drums 03. For Mozy (Original Electro version) 04. Inca Tags (Trumpet Sludge) + spare drums 05. Inca Tags (Remix feat. Peter Zummo, Co La, Sami Yenigun) 06. Calvin & Hobbes (ECM Mix) 07. Loving The Drift (Ttam Renat Remix) 08. Untitled I 09. Slave To The Vibe (Cathedral 808 Mix) + drum work 10. Untitled II 11. Kangaroo (Live Jam Mix w/ Protect-U, and Aaron Coyes from Peaking Lights) 12. Untitled III