- When Kerri Chandler took up a residency at Circoloco in Ibiza, his direction changed. "It feels like I started all over from scratch," the house icon told RA in 2012. Chandler's newfound sound was clean and techy house, confirmed by the inclusion of tracks by Jamie Jones and The Martinez Brothers on his Watergate mix CD in 2014. To some fans' surprise, it seemed like a one-of-a-kind artist had turned to something more conventional.
Checkmate might get the same reaction. It's Chandler's second 12-inch for Watergate, and comes with one original track backed up by remixes from Steve Rachmad and Cinthie. But before we pine for the Jersey producer's classic style, we should consider a question: does this EP work? "Checkmate" is not the soulful stuff of legends, but it's a sprightly DJ tool. Deep drums shuffle about smoothly while piano and freewheeling melodies keep the mood on cloud nine. Rachmad's rework, a thumping tension builder that patiently deploys its drama, is darker. On Cinthie's remix, meticulous percussion is soothed by a bloated bassline and aqueous pads. Checkmate is not the special record many of Chandler's have been, but these are effective club tracks.
A2 Checkmate (Cinthie Remix)
B1 Checkmate (Steve Rachmad Remix)