An extended member of Mister Saturday Night, Nathan Melja, who used to man the lighting desk, knows better than most how the New York crew's loose and lively parties tick. His Leo Draws EP pulls together three tracks you'd expect to hear at the business end of an MSN party. But even at its headiest, there's a sensitivity to the French-born producer's record that reflects the vibe of Eamon Harkin and Justin Carter's events.
Leo Draws' basslines are low-slung and elastic, and the use of vocals is less about what's being said than adding tone and melody. The title track best exemplifies this: the vocals, obscured by Melja's pitch-shifting, could belong to a Motown classic or an '80s funk standard, but in his hands they resemble a candle-lit Gregorian chant. "If You Can Dance Then Rave On"'s vocal is less discernible—it's a flatly delivered, barely audible scrawl of words. Even if it doesn't feel essential, it offers handy punctuation for the athletic bassline, which leaps around rattling hi-hats and echoing claps.
"Expe 12" combines ideas found elsewhere on Leo Draws, and may be the EP's best. Its nervous rhythm takes cues from dusty UK garage, with an echo of Burial in the vocals and crackling static. There are too many regrettable rip-offs of that sound to count, but Melja avoids adding to the pile.
TracklistA1 Leo Draws
B1 If You Can Dance Then Rave On It
B2 Expe 12