Sammy Dee - Purplehummerultrastretch

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  • Considering Sammy Dee’s almost 20-year foothold in the Berlin house and techno scene, it's curious to see him only get around to putting out his solo debut now. He’s certainly not studio-shy, given his solid run of collaborations (Pantytec, Schneider & Redecki, Half Hawaii), and the man’s DJ resume is about as impressive as could be, being a former Tresor jock and current figurehead of Get Perlonized, one of Berghain/Panoramabar’s hottest parties. Unfortunately, Purplehummerultrastretch leaves something to be desired. The B-side is a run-of-the-mill clunker, and though the A-side certainly deserves a bit of attention, overall the EP is sadly unremarkable. ‘Purplehummer’ is essential Perlon: stripped down, otherworldly house that’s all about groove and timbre. Right off the bat, the drum line is crisp and funky. Incoherent vocals gurgle away while an elliptical keyboard line slips in and out. In the absence of any individual hook, the track presents the listener with a shifting landscape of expertly produced half-melodies and percussive flourishes. It's smart and quirky, but it also barely surpasses the average quality of Perlon’s output. ‘Purplehummer’ begs to be compared with organic microhouse gems like Bruno Pronsato’s At Home I’m a Tourist, or Villalobos’ recent Vasco EP Part 1, but trades the sprawling unpredictability of those records for the simplicity of a house DJ tool—albeit a very classy one. ‘Ultrastretch’ has a bit more techno punch to it, but in general is hopelessly lackluster. A rising synth melody slopes through the entire track, boosted along by a pronounced kick drum. The organic textures that give the A-side so much character are replaced here by an uninspired palette of minimal sounds. Granted, Sammy Dee’s touch for driving rhythm is present throughout, but it doesn’t do enough to save this track from mediocrity. And though ‘Purplehummer’ certainly has enough horsepower to surmount this heap, the EP still falls short of what one might expect from a producer with such creative prowess. While it certainly has its moments, Purplehummerultrastretch hardly sounds like it was twenty years in the making.