- Sometimes the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and sometimes it isn't. For Honey Soundsystem, a San Francisco gay party and DJ troupe, their collective power lies in the individuality of each member. Jason Kendig is the star DJ—he of eight-hour sets and impeccable taste in club music. Josh Cheon runs Dark Entries, one of electronic music's most respected and headsy reissue labels. Robert Yang, AKA Bézier, makes music that combines Italo, space disco and krautrock into one radioactive stew. And then there's Jacob Sperber, AKA Jackie House, who has long been the brains behind Honey's business end and whose style pairs the celebratory vibe of house with techno's austerity. The latter two lead the charge for their crew's renewed label effort, issuing a pair of disparate records.
If you haven't seen Sperber DJ lately, "Stydive" is a good hint as to what he sounds like. Pitched between techno and house, there are prickly Reese-style basslines, flanged sound effects and a wailing sample that rides the beat like a plastic bag flapping in the wind. Matrixxman pulls it together, as he does, and ties it tight into a no-bullshit techno banger, with engine room hums and bleepy melodies.
Inspired by space travel, Yang's EP is more of a journey. The eight-minute "皆" ("mina," or "everyone") is one of his finest pieces yet. We get the same pumping Italo vibes of his recent Telomeres EP, but bathed in melancholic synth runs. Halfway through, a live drummer comes into the fold. The flipside is given over to two previously released tracks from 2009: "Serengeti Drive" (from the compilation that launched HNYTRX) is a feel-good counterpart to "皆," while "Mysteries Of The Deep" is a guarded and foreboding trip. Both tracks still sound great, though it would've been nice to hear more new material.
The Honey Soundsystem crew spent years toiling away at their Sunday night weekly at The Holy Cow before getting wider recognition. Now their brand has grown into something else entirely, with residencies in major cities outside of San Francisco and headlining gigs around the world. These two EPs mark a new beginning, tying up loose ends and bringing things up to speed. With only two new original tracks, it's a modest start, but the stylistic differences between each record hints at what's possible.
Bézier - 皆
01. 皆 (Mina)
02. Serengeti Drive
03. Mysteries Of The Deep
Jackie House - Stydive
02. Stydive (Matrixxman Remixx)