- Heart To Heart is a young label out of Edmonton, Alberta that focuses on earthy, hardware-driven house music with a traditionalist streak. Intentionally or not, they have released music exclusively from artists based in Vancouver. Along with ESB, Khotin and Jesse Bru, Secret Lover, AKA Ryan Trann, is one core member of their roster. His second EP, Between You And Me, nicely outlines the label's tasteful style.
Secret Lover is the culmination of many years spent partying and playing in Vancouver. Trann's most prominent previous work was under the name Larry James, a collaboration with Max Ulis that expressed a tentative interest in house but didn't last long enough to develop much of a personality. The Secret Lover material, on the other hand, carries itself with confidence, taking inspiration from the wafting ambience of the Canadian Riviera's house sound and making it sturdy. You can hear this in "I Want You": the chunky drums are unmistakably Vancouver, but the shuffling hi-hats and glossy synth cut more of a Kerri Chandler-like figure. The distant chords coating the background of "Do You Do (Laid Back Mix)" will be catnip to fans of artists like Lnrdcroy or Pender Street Steppers.
One thing Trann carries over from Larry James is a slight swing, which, along with his sharp arrangements, makes his music stand out. He puts tracks together with a clean, deliberate touch that sidesteps Vancouver's usual weed haze, and the result is unflashy house where the details really count. The funky toms add pizzazz to a serviceable house beat on "Space & Time," while the rougher textures of "Ready To Pop" are complemented by some reinforced kick drums during the last two minutes. It's the most surprising moment on a record that otherwise feels like comfort food.
A1 I Want You
A2 Do You Do (Laid Back Mix)
B1 Ready To Pop
B2 Space & Time