- After bouncing around various labels for about four years, Scottish-born Ewan Smith found a fitting home with Will Saul's Aus Music in 2014. Their first outing together, the eponymous Youandewan EP, remained true to the purist nature of Smith's house and techno, even as it explored a variety of classic ideas. Subsequent 12-inches dug further into the milieu, to deep, emotive effect. But where Youandewan's first release of 2015, Spiral Arms, was charming and warm with its use of vintage standards, the Verloren EP remains dryly distant. That lack of the generous personality Smith cultivated over the years undermines these otherwise strong productions.
Most of Verloren takes on a techy house bent, which works best on the foggy title track—easily the most colorful and animated original—and slippery shuffler "253 (Decent Mix)." The latter tune would've been a shoo-in for this record's top dance floor stonker, if not for how Dario Zenker's "Verloren" remix zooms into the EP's underlying tension and frames it with some welcome soundsystem bombast. Still, "253 (Decent Mix)" is as endearingly playful as it is fathoms deep. Its only break in movement lasts for one second almost halfway through, when Smith drops an awkward laugh in the mix. Hold that up against the rigid, humorless bob of "#1" and it's easy to see why a little carefree energy and charisma can go a long way in by-the-books dance music.
B1 253 (Decent Mix)
B2 Verloren (Dario Zenker Remix)