- Supplements Facts' How Can You Sleep at Night? raises more tricky questions than just its title. "In Our Own City" asks: "Have you ever wondered why it is that we love this music?" Yeah, sure. But the more pressing question is: Why are stock pitch-shifted, druggy vocals needed here? Given the right setting, they can add a perfectly sweaty sheen of nastiness, but Varoslav & David K would have easily found the grime left to their own devices. The dark, bleepy tech house, serrated dubs and hollow banging sounds of "In Our Own City" tunnels down into deep, warped territory of its own accord, and the overly loud commentary that accompanies the trip down the rabbit hole is distracting at best.
How many cooks is too many cooks? In the case of "Get Paid," it's the seven (!) producers of Soldiers With Limits' superstar cast—Guti, Soul Clap, Le Loup, Greg Paulus, Shaun Reeves and Tanner Ross—that are responsible for this oversalted broth. Friendly diplomacy in the booth may be to blame for allowing run-of-the-mill soul man chants, and a cringeworthy refrain of "Get paaaid / Get laaaaid" to hog the spotlight, when its redeeming qualities really lay in its Chicago roots and the wordless vocal melody that pipes up later.
Can describing something as "perfectly fine" ever be considered complimentary? I don't know, but it's a phrase I can't move past with "Always Love," Dave Ellesmere's first outing for the label. Perhaps if he'd dropped anchor a little earlier, and allowed the bass to sink in before the five-minute mark, its delicate vocal treatment, intricate melodies and barely-there deep house bongos would leave more than a pleasant but featureless impression. These tracks will no doubt find sympathetic ears, but personally I'll opt to spend more time in the company of Guy Gerber's Love/Hate, and see what comes next.
A Varoslav & David K - In Our Own City
B1 Soldiers With Limits - Get Paid, Get Laid
B2 Dave Ellesmere - Always Love