- A vinyl companion to the CD compilation ‘Bets’n’Bluffs’, this double-pack is hardly the most exciting release to emerge from the Poker Flat stable in recent years, despite contributions from both dab old hands and new kids on the narcy tech-house block. While the 'mother' CD gathers such sure shots from the last two years as Luciano's mix of Argy's 'Lovedose', Trentemoller's 'Always Something Better' and the Loco Dice version of Martin Landsky's '1000 Miles', the freshly-minted productions on this pair of 12"s sound relatively stale and functional.
John Tejada's collaboration with Bilal Bashir is as slick as you'd imagine, but it scarcely even compares to the click-minded Californian's finest work: Its title, 'My Style is No Style', seems highly appropriate in a way that its authors presumably did not intend. Meanwhile, UK young bucks Dan Berkson & James What, whose punchy, effects-laden production aesthetic has won them a significant underground following in the last few months, supply linear tech-house bomb 'Asteroids’. It chugs and churns perfectly satisfactorily, and will most probably sound huge on a club system, but it lacks the kind of irresistible hook sported by all the best PF productions, and when it draws to its conclusion you'll find yourself hard pressed to remember it at all. Still, Berkson & What are evidently on the up and will almost certainly hit a serious run of form before 2007 is out.
Martin Buttrich scored one of this year's biggest tracks in the form of 'Full Clip', released on Carl Craig's Planet E back in September and still getting rinsed in clubs now. However, with 'Snapshots', Loco Dice's undoubtedly talented studio partner fails to make an impression, fashioning a deep minimal cut that will be useful in the mix, but taken on its own lacks any real bite or flair. You're much better off seeking out 'Cloudy Bay', his recent debut 12" for this same label.
Steve Bug teams up with Cle for the oddly titled 'Onehundredandthree Eggs', a winning fusion of tight, clipped drum programming, moody synths and gutter-funk bass-lining that's, well, pure Bug. 'Onehundredandthree Eggs' is texturally so similar to the Philippe Autouri track which follows it ('Petite Crique') that you could be forgiven for thinking they were one and the same; Autori's snare-crunching effort will, for sure, sound explosive when played out.
Jamie Jones, afro-sporting proprietor of DJsCanDance in London, rounds off the selection with 'Alien Experiments', a solid tech-houser peppered with suitably sci-fi pings and bleeps. Jones' first new work since January's terrific 'Amazon' on Freak-N-Chic is nowhere near as original or vital as its predecessor, but is a strong contribution nonetheless and points to a bright production future for the man.
In short, if you simply can't get enough of that stripped-down but full-bodied Poker Flat sound or need to bolster your box with some sick, functional grooves - do pick up this record. If, however, you want value for money and genuine evidence of the label's considerable quality and reach, spend your cash on the bumper CD for which this is merely a disappointing sampler.
A1 John Tejada & Bilal Bashir - My Style Is No Style
A2 Dan Berkson & James What - Asteroids
B1 Martin Buttrich - Snapshots
C1 Steve Bug & Clé - Onehundredandthree Eggs
C2 Philippe Autuori - Petite Crique
D1 Jamie Jones - Alien Experiments