- There are numerous issues that arise from Sascha Dive's The Panther EP. When is appropriation of another culture's icons appropriate? Is there a line that can be crossed, where you borrow too much? Where is that line? Must you pay tribute every time that you make a record in a certain style to its "accepted" forbearers? What's the appropriate way to do so? There's a healthy debate going on about some of these things. It's just too bad that the music somehow gets lost in all of it.
Dive's "Brother" is a chunky number that sees him stepping outside of his usual clean and deep template. Sure, it's got a vocal sample that'll raise eyebrows—and I'm still not sure how I feel about it myself—but it's mere fodder for a dense production that teems with a trumpet swell and a chiming guitar line that contrast successfully with the beast of a groove that Dive sets out. It stands in stark contrast to the beatdown version of "RD's Groove" that Dive puts under his Samuel Davis alias, which—as its title and three-minute length suggests—does little and inspires less. The Deep N Dirty version of "Brother" ironically rids itself of much of the grit of the original. But Dive's sampling of a voice—"The story you're about to hear is a lie, but I'm going to tell it anyhow"—digs you immediately into its clutches, while some of the moaning atmospherics remain, elegantly looped into infinity in the background.
Don Melon turns up first on the B-side, showcasing a lighter and more varied touch than Dive's A-side excursions with his remix of "Black Panther." Melon's aims are different—and neither is inherently better. The melody squiggles and pans in all the right places, and the breakdown is expertly conducted. Sturdy work from a sturdy producer. Closing things out is Dive again with "Black Panther," a track that seems to take the title literally and figuratively. Sludgy organs evoke a snarling animal if you listen closely enough. And—presumably—that's actual Black Panthers muttering away in the background, often just outside of hearing. It's yet another miniature ala "RD's Groove," but it's a beautiful one, full of weird timbres and unexpected noises. Far from the deep house drivel that people presume based on prejudice or hearsay, the two originals here are excellent mid-set grooves for a set that aims for the dark and mysterious.
A1 Brother (Original Version)
A2 RD's Groove (Samuel Davis Beatdown Mix)
A3 Brother (Deep 'N Dirty Version)
B1 Black Panther (Don Melon's Sure I Can Mix)
B2 Black Panther (Original Mix)