- Untold (Hemlock label head Jack Dunning) and Roska (Wayne Goodlitt, UK funky figurehead and proprietor of the exquisitely named Roska Kicks & Snares label) team up for the first time here with an EP that also marks their first respective appearances on Glasgow's Numbers label. The collaboration makes intuitive sense: both artists share a taste for chock-a-block percussion and buzzing, biting sounds and that's what they give us here. "Myth" is unabashedly anthemic, with a Middle Eastern lead that makes the tune instantly recognizable. (I don't attend a lot of clubs where rewinds are common practice, but this track seems tailor made for them.) It's relentlessly energetic, as Roska's hard-edged conga samples tangle with Untold's signature bassy squelch; shrieks and ululations fill out the sound field at critical moments, adding to the sense of manic intensity.
Slower and with a more pronounced 4/4 sensibility, "Long Range" is clearly an attempt to put the house back in funky. The press release cites KMS and Prescription as influences, but aside from the presence of minor-key chord stabs and a wild pitch ostinato, it sounds little like any of the Detroit and Chicago revisionism coming out of the continental European house scene. For starters, where neo-deep house aims for suppleness, this is as brittle as a hay stalk dipped in dry ice, from the staccato percussion to the bit-crushed lead. That's not to say it's not funky: all that clipped, loping percussion gives it a powerful, propulsive groove. And that's not to say it doesn't make some surprising references, either: the bleating sax riff nods to big-room house tunes like Enur's "Calabria"—which is funny, when you think about it, because commercial house of the Swedish House Mafia variety is currently working with very similar rhythmic ideas to those in UK funky. Of course, this isn't mainstream house: it's dark, a little evil and willfully perverse. (When was the last time you heard an apocalyptic reggae siren cutting through a house tune?) Its success is due in large part to Roska and Untold's ability to take well-worn tropes and flip them on their heads.
B Long Range