- Over the course of the past few years, the Droog crew has attempted to build a scene around their parties in Los Angeles. It's a distinct one—something far different than the warehouse vibe enjoyed by Droid Behavior, or the middle ground carved out by Robtronik's Compression events—and it's one that many detractors have claimed is all flash, little substance. Whatever your view—and most techno fans in Los Angeles seem to have one—it's undeniable that Droog have built something in the city, and it's something that has a loosely defined druggy minimal sound attached to it.
That's the immediate impression you get, at least, from the debut EP on the crew's new imprint, Culprit, which comes courtesy of Hot Natured, a collaboration between Lee Foss and Jamie Jones. Foss, a man who never met a loose-fitting tanktop he didn't like, has been a staple on the LA scene—and Droog's parties—for about as long as the group has been around, moving to the city after a long stint in Chicago. Jones, meanwhile, represents the growing ex-pat community in the city. He doesn't live there—he makes his home in London—but plays often enough in the metropolis that he might as well pay rent at Damian Lazarus' place.
The sound of their debut, as I mentioned, is psychedelic minimalism. The tracks induce the same sort of feeling of Vakant's finest moments. Except these aren't thicketed forests of sound, they're deserts. "Turning Tricks" seems to cut up an '80s classic, dismembering its spare percussion and reassembling it into a plodding number that luxuriates in buzzing synths, a quick-hitting and never-ending guitar riff and a vocal sample that gets you close to remembering where it all came from. "Nikki Norris," meanwhile, begins like Jones' "Summertime" but soon gets caught in a rut, substituting an organ lick for forward drive. "Heads" is the best thing here, as it takes advantage of the fact that it doesn't go anywhere in particular, swaying back and forth unsteadily for most of its length, somehow pushing forward despite itself via disembodied vocal samples, a spectral synth melody and a droning organ.
02. Nikki Norris
03. Turning Tricks