- Mark Hawkins once maintained a strict divide between his two aliases, Juxta Position and Marquis Hawkes. The former was for techno, the other for house. As a producer who fuses ideas with ease, these projects were bound to converge at some point. His previous EP for Aus as Marquis Hawkes, last year's Doornroosje, had a Floorplan-style B-side with driving piano chords and a bumpy organ arpeggio. On Sweet Temptation, his first release of 2017, two techno-leaning cuts stand out. Booming 4/4 kicks and sustained synths give "The Burning Light" a formidable weight. Its candyfloss vocal might be too sugary for some, but may work wonders as a curveball in a stern techno session. Hawkins also pairs sweet with sour on "Sweet Temptation"—minor key spirals, shadowed by a warm bassline, foreground a classic Loleatta Holloway vocal. Given how well worn the sample is, Hawkins flips it surprisingly well.
Compared with other Chicago house-inspired tracks in the Marquis Hawkes catalogue, "Eivissa" and "Zapper Bluesky" aren't essential entries. "Eivissa"'s synth and piano elements don't click, and the textures of Hawkins' funk harmonies seem overly sharp—the synth seems better suited to techno than piano house. "Zapper Bluesky," a soulful house number with stuttering snares and a healthy kick, fits snugly into the Marquis Hawkes aesthetic. As with "Eivissa," though, the pieces are misaligned. Would hand drums, instead of thumping kicks, have been a better fit for the track's warm-hearted Motown vocal? Sweet Temptation's uneven tracks are the sound of an artist trying too many things at once.
A2 The Burning Light
B1 Sweet Temptation
B2 Zapper Bluesky