- On the Corner, a four-track EP marking the launch of new Brooklyn label
Cortelyou Road Recordings, starts off in the inarguably great past and winds up in the more fruitfully undefined present. Old-school house track "Feel the Sky," by New York producer James Duncan (a sometime trumpeter for Metro Area!), couldn't be more of a throwback if it tried, with buoyant piano, snippets of soulful vocals, and antic hi-hats that sound like a bunch of spare change bouncing on a baking tin. "Pimp Stomp," by Berlin's Alex Agore, marries a similar early '90s house style to what sounds like some almost-Balearic guitar, which cuts through spells of piano and hazy notions of synthesized flute. Both tracks are artful and certainly well-done, but both are also a little too in thrall to lineage for their own good.
On the flip are two tracks that venture out and find their way into some majestic and certainly more surprising moments. "Fellini," by English producer Red Rack'em, is basically a slow, simmering, few-note house throb, but, in fits and starts, it throws out some great bracing horn sounds and trilling strings refined and dexterous enough for classical music. "Into tha Etha," by Brooklyn's Native Sound, is stranger and more affecting than anything else here: a big, gloopy mess of a house track padded with slurping synths and what sounds like tape run backward. Picked apart, its sounds could be sourced as historical—but swirled together as they are, they manage to connect in ways that sound new.
A1 James Duncan - Feel the Sky
A2 Alex Agore - Pimp Stomp
B1 Red Rack'em - Fellini
B2 Native Sound - Into tha Etha