- The Sun is Shanghai Den's debut solo release, but the name may already be familiar to some. The recent FaltyDL collaboration "King Brute" was a brief but pleasingly gnarled glimpse of what might be in store from the producer. This single for R&S expands on that promise, but only a little.
As these two tracks demonstrate, there's plenty of overlap in sensibility between Den and his better-known partner. Both have a restless mode, flitting between grooves and ideas where others might commit to a single loop. But where in Falty's music that restlessness often feels friendly, Den's music is all small-hours paranoia. "The Sun"'s dead-eyed jazz chords and rolling, syncopated percussion recall early '00s West London broken beat, or perhaps a breakbeat-indebted dubstepper like Toasty. It's aflutter with interesting ideas, even if, as with "King Brute" before it, one wishes they were developed more thoroughly. "Vale W Group Bench" is longer but more frustrating. It sounds like dystopian techno caught in purgatory, doomed to erratically re-run its opening 32 bars. The heavy-handed hi-pass filter action doesn't help much, either.
A1 The Sun
B1 Vale W