- For a few years now, London producer U has deliberately remained on the fringe. Whether making disco-house for ManMakeMusic, sly mechanics for Technicolour or classical experiments for Where To Now?, U's production style picks a musical framework, and then colors outside the lines. This exploratory approach is behind U's second record for Phantasy. Usually, dance floor grooves are just barely threaded throughout the producer's hazy and winding structures, but this EP chases a full-on euphoric rush. Of course, though, the journey there isn't conventional.
On the A-side, "Friendly Ghost" is an expanse of sparse rhythms, beginning with soft, backfiring bongos, and picking up steely clatters as its gently swells and coasts. With a techno tempo but a kind of loose, mysterious air, it's easy to imagine the track opening a DJ set that's going to get trippy. "Ascension Hymn" seems to take this to heart. At 13-minutes, it's more of a mini mix, with a sense of narrative and swelling emotional peaks. What makes it so easy to follow is an extended spoken word that preaches oneness and love. (At first, it sounds cheesy, but after sourcing it to a 1968 self-help book, The Greatest Salesman In The World, it feels more like irony for the rave.) The track begins with a dark and galloping groove, soars into a blissed out moment of drum & bass and ends in a swathe of heavenly pads. U's going in a lot of directions here, but each one feels just right.
A Friendly Ghost
B Ascension Hymn