- It was inevitable these two sounds would meet. For years, artists on Idle Hands—Leif, Parris, Crump—have applied dub-inspired rhythms to tracks at house tempo, distantly echoing dubstep and UK garage while presenting something new. Meanwhile, new school minimal and house labels, such as Cabaret Recordings and Time Passages, have been playing more with syncopated rhythms, typically inspired by electro, but at times achieving a similar rhythmic flow to their UK counterparts. Forming a bridge between these worlds is Christian Jay, a Berlin-based producer whose records fit as easily in one camp as they do in the other. Jay arrived in 2015 with his sound—punchy, mellow and syncopated—just about fully formed. Katalox, his second EP for Idle Hands, serves up more of that sound.
Katalox arrives two years after Contrail, and picks up where that EP left off with two tracks that sound like they could have come from the same sessions as that record. Both are rhythmically inspired, distilling elements of minimal, electro and UK garage without sounding like any of them—with its scratch samples, "Del's Kicks" even has a bit of a hip-hop vibe. The kicks are plump, the highs are clean, the compositions spare and spacious. Vocal snippets and synth flourishes add some trippy flair, but the only hooks are the beats themselves. Tracks this subtle and effective will be perfect for many DJs, but they sound less fresh than the ones on Contrail, possibly because we heard more or less the same thing arriving two years ago. For someone on his third record, Jay's style is impressively distinct. It will be interesting to see where he goes from here.
B Del's Kicks