Dave Powers succeeds where plenty of producers have failed: He delivers dance floor friendly music that sounds contemporary and fresh while managing to infuse it with classic elements of Detroit techno and electro, Chicago house and jazz. This debut solo EP for the Chicago-based producer and piano virtuoso is a minefield of sorts—it's easy to sound contrived crafting music with such obvious historical influences—but Powers pulls it off with finesse, making the old sound new.
"Freakmachine" is a fitting name for the funk-injected opener and the catchy bass line and electro-inspired synths fit well amongst the shuffling percussion. Slapping analog bass gives the tech house on hand plenty of bounce. "Mr. Monster," meanwhile is a more straightforward techno number, with a chugging bass line and some whimsical atmospheres. Bubbles and clicks and a few bleeps build into rolling snares that segue nicely into the track's final minutes.
Camea's stripped down take on "Mr. Monster" on the flipside is eclipsed by the original, but should appeal to fans of Clink, her Brooklyn-based label, and its signature minimal sound. A dark and eerie interpretation of the original, this simple and austere remix is a bit out of place amongst Powers's tracks, which are—to put it simply—fun. To round out the EP, Powers moves things into more cosmic territory. "Pod-Op" begins with celestial sirens that build the mood nicely. The outstanding mastering on this record makes it easy to hear the playful interplay between the crisp hi-hats and jazzy melodies. With an undeniable synth riff, it's the clear standout of the bunch, and epitomizes Powers's flair for the funky.
A2 Mr. Monster
B1 Mr. Monster (Camea’s Remix)