- It might come as a surprise to see Samrai and Ruf Dug working together. Although both are established figures on the Manchester scene, they seem to issue from wildly different sonic worlds. Solo and as one half of production and promotion outfit Swing Ting, Samrai is a devotee of the UK's rowdy mongrel musics, with a svelte discography touching on dubstep, garage, UK funky and grime. Ruf Dug, meanwhile, taps a different tradition, running from classic disco and Chicago house through the maverick sonics of Theo Parrish and the '00s edit craze. It would be reductive to say that the two meet in the middle on this EP for Unknown To The Unknown—the Dane Bank Observatory is the name of Dug's suburban studio after all. But the common ground they settle on is fascinating nonetheless.
"1st Observation" is nimbly poised between each artist's world. Its dulled clap and buttery chords suggest a deep house slouch, but restless kicks and a diced amen break muss things up a treat. It's all bound together by what sounds like an early Chicago house diva, wailing her way through a bathroom's worth of reverb and a thicket of synth strings. The result is somehow both glossy and scuffed, light-footed and jarringly sluggish—unplaceable, in other words, in the best possible way. "2nd Observation" is less fluid, its stilted halfstep beat and minor key bassline suggesting a blunted spin on certain UK signifiers. Then again there's all that synth work, which could've been taken from some forgotten boogie gem. A pair of remixes, from Mood Hut's Hashman Deejay and Melbourne duo Zanzibar Chanel, seek the firmer ground of house music proper. Hashman Deejay just takes the prize with nine-odd minutes of almost pathological pleasantness.
A1 1st Observation
A2 1st Observation (Hashman Deejay Remix)
B3 2nd Observation
B4 2nd Observation (Zanzibar Chanel Remix)