- SUED is the kind of label you have to take as-is. For the most part, their records have no artwork or titles. The artists go by truncated aliases like SVN, XI, PG Sounds and SW. There's nothing to go by except for the music itself, which is often dusty and low-key.
The co-founders SW. and SVN define the label more than any of its other artists. SW. in particular has chalked up a reputation as a source of eclectic house and techno. With The Reminder, a three-part series of EPs that started in 2013, SW. wiped some of the grit off his productions, resulting in rapturous-but-humble tracks that had the retro-futuristic sheen of '90s electronica. "It's a reminder of the good things from Detroit, Chicago and the other British stuff," he told RA at the time. "Labels from the middle and the end of the '90s are a big inspiration for me." Those ideas and influences come to the fore on SW.'s first album, which feels like the hard-earned culmination of a strong five years for both artist and label.
The opening run of Untitled is gentle and cheery, like the groggy hours of early dawn. The drums are soft, the basslines feel cushioned and the pads color orange rays of sunlight between the rhythms. In the stunning opener, SW. sprinkles vintage breaks at all the right points, and on track six, essentially an elaborate disco edit, he varies the length of the loops and percussion so that it seems to constantly morph. On the incredible second track, SW. plays with jazzy drums, every so often dropping a heavy bass note, the kind you'd hear in drum & bass. Loose, limber and breezy, it evokes the likes of Plaid, peak-era Photek and Galaxy 2 Galaxy without echoing any of them too closely.
Listening through Untitled, it's striking how far the music has come from the early SW. records. Only one of these tracks—right in the middle of the album, like a load-bearing pillar—is straight-up house, though much more polished than usual (in a nice flourish, it falls into a locked groove at the end and chugs away ad infinitum). The album moves from dreamy broken beat to thudding house and minimalist ambient, ending with a funky drum workout that ties these threads together.
Like Skee Mask's excellent Shred from early 2016, Untitled is a lesson in how to put together a dance music album. The tracks don't flag, the momentum is smooth and the variety keeps you hooked. And the music's unassuming nature makes it that much easier to love. SW. doesn't need track titles or artwork for the vibrancy of his music to come across—it's all there in the buoyant beats and beautiful melodies.