- I'm rooting for Crosstown Rebels. But for a label that helped define early '10s dance music with low-slung tunes from Jamie Jones, Art Department and Maceo Plex, it seems to have lost its way in the search for more immediate sounds. That changed for a moment earlier this year with Deniz Kurtel's The Fifth House, a delightfully twisted EP that recalled the bass-led style of Crosstown Rebels' golden years, where obvious crowdpleasers—big hooks, big breakdowns—took a backseat to groove. Audiofly & Patrice Bäumel's Atacama makes that period feel like a long time ago.
We get a list of big-room clichés on the original: a simple bassline, a derivative synth melody, a massive breakdown. Some nifty panning is the only flash of originality. Unlike the best of these ambitious big-room tracks, the melodies are basic and the progression is predictable, right down to the burst of white noise at the end of the main breakdown, which feels like the kind of thing Damian Lazarus, who provides a B-side remix, would have scoffed at five years ago. His version has a nicer groove, but it's confused. Keeping much of the original's melody, he scuffs up the low-end and swaps the vocal for a wail that, coincidentally, is close to Burial's new one. The problem is that the remix sounds like five tracks crammed into one, thanks to a barrage of melodic components that never quite come together. It's an awkward snapshot of a label that used to toy with convention, not embrace it.
B Atacama (Damian Lazarus Re-Shape)