Various Artists - Philpot 50

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  • Heidelberg don Move D rounds off Philpot's 50th release with "Untitled Detroit," a fitting symbol of the label's Libran balance between DJ relevance and cerebral stimulation. Stretched out over eleven minutes, its minimalistic 909 rhythm makes imperceptible shifts from skittering and watertight, towards brittle and fractured, accompanied by tremulous chords that hover in mid-air, and ever-increasing arcs of reverb. The preceding six numbers are an even split between serviceable tracks that thrive within floor-focused conservatism, and oddball jams that excel despite it. Keen ears will be familiar with the thundering filtered piano chords, wiry strings and swollen disco bass of Tim Toh's "Floral," the pick of this EP's litter amongst house DJs, but on closer inspection it's lacking the precocious elegance that distinguished his first three Philpot EPs. Ike flips that scenario, abandoning the boisterous Frankenstein edits of his Lost 4-Trax EP for "Throw Back Music '94," a subdued arrangement that settles for familiar house tropes of bongos and a vaguely retro back-and-forth melody. Roman Rauch's "Lemme Get There" finds more inspiration within the formula, replacing bongos with scuffed edges, sandpaper claps, funk guitar licks and a melody that spirals upwards. Tom Ellis' "New Mode" marks the beginning of the 4/4 molestation, adopting the slow-house tempo du jour but turning it into a balmy daydream of unintelligible vocals, strummed accompaniments, and a double-stepping beat that is as light as honeycomb. Mysterious newcomer The Reboot Joy Confession is just as quirky but not so amiable, happy to change the setting to "unease" and leave it there. "O" arrives on the swell of a gothic choral waltz, accompanied by wailing cellos, and a saturated 6/8 rhythm, giving way briefly to a surprise interlude of sleazy soundtrack funk, before flicking back into its baroque mood. Resident beat freaks Juju & Jordash settle somewhere between the previous two, segmenting their signature future-retro sound collage with a prominent harpsichord, and piecing it together again with webbing of analog pads. The absence of Soulphiction/Jackmate is a conspicuous omission, but in allowing his artists to dictate the breadth of Philpot's sound, Michel Baumann demonstrates how his label has remained vital after more than a decade.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Tim Toh - Floral A2 IKE - Throwbackmusic '94 B1 Roman Rauch feat. Bartellow - Lemme Get There B2 Tom Ellis - New Mode C1 The Reboot Joy Confession - O C2 Juju & Jordash - Tanglefoot D Move D - Untitled Detroit