Claude VonStroke - Beware of the Bird

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  • I reckon this guy probably dances with his butt sticking out, waving it back and forth and right and left with a little double shake at the end of every bar. Because he certainly loves to use those punchy percussive basslines that sound like a giant rubber ball being dropped on the roof of the club. In fact Claude VonStroke has butt-wiggled himself to great heights in under a year – ‘Deep Throat’ and ‘The Whistler’ have been big hits, at least big enough to be licensed by MoS and Fabric. And these are great tracks – ‘The Whistler’ is one of those explosive records that cross all scene boundaries and cause riots in any environment you could choose to play them. VonStroke has a knack for combining pure body grooves (those basslines!) with more head-melty sonics (the throat noises on ‘Deep Throat’, the whoops on ‘Chimps’ and the screaming synth orgasm halfway through ‘The Whistler’) that few can match. The downside however is that as an album this is awfully samey. The first five tracks are all fantastic variations on that bassline trick, which unfortunately serves to make each one of them appear less exciting than it actually is. For a DJ that doesn’t matter but for home listening it’s not great. It seems likely that Dirtybird just wanted to get a full-length CD out quickly to capitalize on their success, because the sequencing is very plonky and there are only two (noticeably weaker) tracks here that haven’t been previously released and three tracks which are actually VonStroke remixes of other artists. The album as a whole is very slick and smoothly produced, and one can imagine him having actual pop chart success in the not too distant future. In fact the Dirtybird sound seems likely to become the template for big room club music, much in the way that Subliminal was a few years back. Which would make VonStroke the Erick Morillo of his generation. Quite how you feel about that depends on your attitude to dance music. My recommendation would be to enjoy these tunes before they lose their snob value, that way you get the best of both worlds. Just don’t listen to the CD all in one go.