T.R. 'Early' Earl - Bad Business EP

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  • Christopher Rau's ample catalogue is defined by subtlety and restraint, so it's unsurprising that, although this 12-inch for Berlin label Nsyde appears under a new alias, it only differs from his usual style within pretty narrow parameters. It might take you a couple of listens to discern the differences: the fractionally starker arrangements, shorn of the detail that marks out Rau's best work; a slight roughness of sound. The latter is most evident on "Turn Loose," whose percussion is scuffed with distortion, and whose carefree synth-glock chords become increasingly ragged as the track progresses. It's the record's most satisfying moment, even if Rau has had more striking ideas on recent EPs for Smallville and Office. "Get Up At Noon"'s insistent tom-tom tattoo vaguely suggests vintage Chicago house, but for the most part its jack-track potential is stymied by gentle synth work. It's only in the last couple of minutes, when a lacerating clap makes its entrance and those toms come to the fore, that we can imagine ourselves in some sweat-soaked warehouse. "Bad Conduction," meanwhile, lacks a melodic softener, but doesn't offer much to replace it. For the most part it's little more than a kick and a lightly fanged bassline. A couple of other percussion bits enter somewhere after the three-minute mark, eventually joined by the slightest of synth pads, hovering just at the edge of earshot. Rau can change his name, but his subtle touch is unmistakable.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Bad Conduction B1 Turn Loose B2 Get Up At Noon