Steve Summers - Generation Loss

  • This long-awaited debut album is a masterclass in raw house.
  • Share
  • When Jason Letkiewicz started releasing music in the early 2000s, the electronic music community was in one of its transitional phases. Minimal sound design and tech house reigned supreme with an emphasis on clean-sounding mixes. When labels like Future Times and L.I.E.S. burst onto the scene around a decade ago, they ushered in a resurgence towards a more stripped-back, hardware-based sound. This created the perfect environment for Letkiewicz's projects to be accepted by a burgeoning audience for rawer sounds. Although he has multiple aliases, he is mostly known as Steve Summers, the alias under which he now presents a long-awaited debut album. Summers is a student of old-school Chicago, creating modern music to make a new generation of dancers jack. This analog approach uses the simple house formula while pushing the machines to their limits. Per these formatives, Generation Loss abounds with gnarly acid lines, from the serpentine opener, "Who Knows," to the sleazy, low-tempo closer, "Unclubbable." The appropriately named "After Hours" is the most traditional deep house cut on the record. Even so, it's an alien take on tradition, with Summers' signature distorted vocals and thick, abrasive bass lending the cut a unique twist. "Loose Connections" is a cybernetic beatdown with sweeping tones that create a futuristic soundscape. The title track is a psychedelic stomper with haunting melodies, while the wild phasing and wobbly bassline heard on "Of Unknown Origin," give the track a pleasantly careening feel, like it's about to go off the rails at any moment. For me, the standout moments on Generation Loss are "Computer Non Grata" (perhaps referring to Letkiewicz's out-of-the-box production method) and "Skin Of Your Teeth." The first is jacking digital madness in the best way. Frantic rhythms and the slightly out-of-tune synth implore, even demand, the body to move. On the latter track, listeners are ensnared in a showcase of blown-out synthesizers and modulation demonstrating Letkiewicz's mastery of the un-manicured house track. It's an insane, abrasive funk that made my teeth clench when I first listened. Listening to Generation Loss, one can hear how the Summers project has really been honed and perfected. Although much of his earlier work is impressive, there is a sense of completeness to these tracks that suggests a leveling up of skills. At first, his output was fairly rapid, but the slowdown in releases reflected a change of consciousness for the artist. There were many imitators of this style. The crudely named "outsider house" period saw many tired, basic analog songs flood the market for a few years. By taking a step back and working on his craft, Letkiewicz has shown how he is the true originator of this renaissance sound.
  • Tracklist
      01. Who Knows 02. 90 S 03. Computer Non Grata 04. Skin Of Your Teeth 05. A Creep Called Quentin 06. Bad Latch 07. After Hours 08. Boxed In 09. Loose Connections 10. Of Unknown Origin 11. The Types 12. Generation Loss 13. Unclubbable