- After a strong start, deep house Dial sublabel Laid has hit a hiccup or two along the way. Their second Rick Wade release revealed the Detroit producer to be a lovely plagiarist of himself, "First Darkness" excepted. (Lovely, but a plagiarist nonetheless.) Laid's tribute to the Smallville crew on its fifth catalogue entry, meanwhile, was harmless deep house fluff. The label splits the difference on its latest, Laid 006. That's hardly a surprise, given that it's a compilation of three tracks from three different producers. And it should perhaps come as no surprise that John Roberts' A-side "White" is the best thing here. The American-born producer's shipyard deep house is in full effect, lolling and swaying back and forth before a pounding beat comes in. Roberts' use of traditional deep house tropes—the tinkling keys, atmospheric synths, etc.—are easy to hear, but his unique arrangements have kept his productions sounding incredibly fresh.
The same can't be said for Christopher Rau's "Soulful," whose title seems more like a hopeful plea than a declarative statement. Rau doesn't do much of anything here that hasn't been done before—and better—playing into exactly the sort of gripes that people have about the genre and its recent revival. Fred P, AKA Black Jazz Consortium, barely escapes such criticisms. "Applied Vibes" is one of his least inspired tracks of the past 12 months. There are enough nuggets going on beneath the surface to indicate to close listeners that a great deal of thought has gone into its making. But unlike his great work from 2009 on Structure, you may not have as much reason to get there. A mild disappointment.
A John Roberts - White
B1 Christopher Rau - Soulful
B2 Black Jazz Consortium - Applied Vibes