- The sleeve of Kim Ann Foxman's latest EP, Energy, shows a photo of her as a 13-year-old beauty queen. (She apparently did everything not to win, including not entering the talent section, but won anyway.) For the New York-based producer, it's a funny reminder of an embarrassing experience. She tends to look back on '80s and '90s dance music more affectionately, and these four tracks, inspired by '90s rave, are no different. In places, Energy sounds more sure of itself than Foxman's past EPs on Firehouse, the label she started in 2014. Some of those records, including her last EP, It's You That Drives Me Wild, oscillated between pop and house, unsure of which sound to commit to and unable to reconcile them.
"E 4 Energy" and "U R Magnetic" are hybrid tracks that nod to UK acid house and trance, featuring buoyant melodies and, in the former's case, a churning 303. They're sometimes too faithful of a tribute—some moments sound quite dated—but it's not enough to make them uninteresting. Foxman's music, much like her singing, tends to be airy and sweet, but Energy has a conspicuous bite. "U & Me Electricity" best combines her silky vocals with this newfound snap. When she sings, "You make me feel good," the reverb gives her words a chilly detachment. The music has generous melodic elements—gliding synths, nuzzling acid, a classic house bassline—but no part outmuscles the others. There's also a nice balance to "2 The Source," where gassy synths and off-key mallet percussion spool into a noirish mood. When it explores Foxman's darker side, Energy shines.
A1 U R Magnetic
A2 E 4 Energy
B1 U & Me Electricity
B2 2 The Source