Alex Coulton, Adventures in 4×4 EP

[Hype_LTD]


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With the dance-music press furiously compiling their various, customary end of year lists, there’s one name in particular that is almost certain to feature heavily: Hypercolour Records. The Bristol-run label has spent the last 12 months pervading the record boxes and online crates of many a 4/4 aficionado in the land, spearheading the popular revival of accessible, dance-floor-centric, British house music. DJs and label managers Alex Jones and Jamie “Cedric Maison” Russell haven’t, however, limited themselves to the one imprint, managing to simultaneously juggle Glass Table, the imaginatively titled Hype Digital and Hype_LTD. It’s the latter, vinyl-first project, which has so far put out EPs from the likes of Maya Jane Coles, Kris Wadsworth, and Kevin Mcphee, which continues the run up to its milestone 10th release with Adventures in 4×4, arriving courtesy of Mancunian Alex Coulton.

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With the help of a particularly strong EP on Idle Hands earlier in the year, the young producer has began cultivating a marked buzz around his name. His dark, moody take on club house music has pricked the scene’s collective ears, snugly occupying that overpopulated gray area between bass music and more traditionally linear house. Unsurprisingly, this four-tracker is rooted firmly to the dance floor, with first single “Dance, Max” kicking things off in typically energetic fashion. Ideas-wise, however, it’s a little elementary, simply laying tough, tried-and-tested tech-house stabs over a foundation of big, heady drums. Functional, but hardly very original. Thankfully “Fade Realization” provides us with a little more insight into Coulton’s more creative side, consisting of swinging, broken drum patterns beneath a surface layer of strong bass hits, thunderous pads and stunted, eerie synths. The result is decent; the lofty swagger of the drums keeping proceedings brisk and fresh. “Function” marks a return to 4/4 fare, presenting itself as the older, more mature brother to “Dance Max.” Again we’re treated to a combination of strong, penetrating bass hits, thick drums and thicker, gunshot synths. While not revolutionary, there aren’t many peak-time floors where this wouldn’t work. Elsewhere, “Submerged,” with it’s echoed intro of a dripping tap and faint, rumbling bass, is full of promise. Broody, sweeping techno chords sit neatly atop a strong, if this time not overpowering, set of kicks. Hypercolour, then, may be picking up a medal on top label podiums up and down the country, but if they’re to stay there, the label (and this goes for Alex Coulton too) should continue to push the envelope as far as the dance floor will allow them.

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