- Few producers are lucky enough to release a debut EP that features remixes from the likes of Gerd Janson and Philip Lauer. Fewer still are skilled enough for their originals to deserve equal attention. But Avalon Emerson, a Bay Area native whose first release appears here on the increasingly vital Icee Hot, crafts swollen basement techno with a deftness that belies her inexperience. On "Pressure" it's in the way diva vocals slide across the beat, imbuing her warehouse-filling synth riffs with narcotic disorientation. On "Quoi!," a less booming cut that fizzes with sharp hi-hats, Emerson again gets playful with her samples, giving us a couple of undoctored bars of French rock & roll she then chops into pitch-twisted techno. It's pacey, powerful and exhilarating.
Emerson's only weakness is in the edit. Both tracks are over seven minutes long, and lose some of their impetus in the final third, which is where Tuff City Kids' experience shows. Both takes on "Quoi!"—from the spiralling disco-house arps of the "Clean Shave Mix" to the snares clattering over the "Rusty Blade Mix''s bass—are taut and nimble. Both are dense but are sliced into movements that build and release tension subtly. Compared to Emerson's originals, with their adolescent energy, they're a touch more nuanced. But as criticisms go I'm nit picking—the EP is a promising debut from a name to watch.
B1 Quoi! (Tuff City Kids Clean Shave Mix)
B2 Quoi! (Tuff City Kids Rusty Blade Mix)