John Swing and EMG have a thing about starting new labels. Over the past five years, the Italian brothers have run low-profile outfits like LiveJam Records, LiveJam Limited, Appointment (together with their friends The Analogue Cops) and Relative, among others. Their latest is Sperimentazioni Sonore ("experimental sounds"). To anyone who's been following this crew, the frank mission statement of that title won't be surprising. Most of John Swing and EMG's output has been dusty, hard-hitting house (especially in Swing's case), but they've always had an experimental streak. Their house jams are often a bit surreal, and EMG went completely out of bounds with Experimental Learning, a label through which he released four beautifully packaged and mostly impenetrable EPs. On Sintomi Di Gravità ("symptoms of gravity"), we get their best experimental stuff yet.
SPS is EMG, John Swing and Battista, a Berlin-based artist who put out a record last year on Warm Sounds (one of the duo's other labels). Sintomi Di Gravità is their first release, and it presents two long and seemingly improvised compositions (live performance has always been central to Swing and EMG's MO). The "Inconscio Mix" is by far the stranger of the two, with a sluggish, stepping beat that sounds like 3 Chairs with a UK twist. Over its 14-minute runtime, it expands and contracts, heats up and cools down, the only constant being that limping but insistent groove.
The "Conscio Mix" is more grounded. It takes a seesawing guitar we heard on the A-side, smothers it with a low-pass filter and pairs it with an slo-mo rhythm—which, once the kick drum stumbles in, turns out to be a 116 BPM house beat. Like the A-side, this one takes its time cruising through a hot and dusty atmosphere, though instead of getting chaotic, it turns satisfyingly funky. The warped vocal that made a cameo on the other side takes center stage, and the beat gets heavy and jacking, thanks in part to the searing hi-hats this crew does so well. You could call this something like left-field house, but that wouldn't really do it justice. These guys have a style that's very much their own, and it's getting better all the time.
TracklistA1 Sintomi Di Gravità (Conscio Mix)
B1 Sintomi Di Gravità (Inconseio Mix)