- Introverted house music.
- Joey Anderson's first release on Avenue 66, 2013's Above The Cherry Moon, inaugurated the Los Angeles label during a particularly industrious period for the artist. Anderson's strong voice and relentless output—six EPs in that year alone—distinguished his style amid the milieu of new-school New York and New Jersey deep house heads. But Anderson's output slowed down after two albums on Dekmantel in the mid-'10s. Since 2016, he's released one EP a year. So his new LP on Avenue 66, Rainbow Doll, comes at a very different phase in Anderson's career. The dust of his breakthrough hype has settled into stable respect.
Anderson's distinct voice as a producer manifests in Rainbow Doll's moodboard: dreamy yet melancholic and unsettling, tender yet aloof, trippy and stoic. On "Beside Me," for instance, Anderson evokes an otherworldly mysticism with plaintive vocals that haunt a sonic tundra of shivering loops and falling-icicle keys. (His voice has the same effect on "Cindy.") The album also draws from Anderson's usual palette of sounds—soft and subby kicks, Detroit pads and classic drum machine hats or rimshots arranged in Chicago house patterns. That might seem a little trite, but Anderson's arrangements and emotional vibe keep things interesting.
Tracks like "Live It" and "Beside Me" are so spaced-out that they feel borderline antisocial, introspective to the point of solipsism. Rainbow Doll may be one of his most DJ-unfriendly records to date. His tracks often start on an off-beat ("Bounce With Me"), or the different parts intersect in a way that makes it hard to identify the downbeat. No matter how many times I listen to "Heaven Help Us," the kick always surprises me, and changes the pulse I had imagined.
Decisions like this make Anderson's music artistic and personal. It also means that it's difficult to integrate into a DJ set. That's partly because the catatonic mood is so dominant, and partly because the arrangement makes them tricky to mix and partly because none of the rhythms are straightforward or meaty. That does, however, make his intricate loops excellent layers that can inject a weird energy or create a memorable moment without bringing down the mood.
01. My Dream
02. Heaven Help Us
03. Beside Me
05. Live It
06. Bounce With It
08. Can Not