Alex Israel, A Man Of Qualities EP

[Crème Organization]

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In my estimation, the best tracks of Alex Israel’s catalogue have been led by accomplished bass and lead lines. There is nothing necessarily wrong with his typically decent drum patterns—the lines would fall flat without their propulsion. But my money is on him as a kind of soloist. The A Man Of Qualities EP helps his case in this regard, but he seems to work with a rawer palette, apart from on the record’s spacious title track. “A Man of Qualities”‘s bulbous main line lurks under a jerky, spaced-out rhythm and a murmuring speaker, intermittently hinting at a distant, sparkling ambience that tantalizingly never quite envelopes the piece.

“Mustard Greens” is less animated, but similarly slinky, as Israel colors its hesitant groove with organ trills and stabs. “Angulas” pits acid and bell lines against each other; both dance gracefully around cluttery drums, compatible with someone like Chicago Skyway. Closer, “Colugo,” finds the producer working in a punchy, shuffling NY/NJ style, and it is laced with the genre’s requisite organ stabs. His additions of gleaming, twisting pads and soaring (synthetic) horn lines give it a lift into breezy territory, in spite of the underlying toughness. Part of classic house’s appeal is its rigid form, but it can be a challenge to sound even relatively free within its parameters. Israel may use fairly normal drums, but he knows how to maximize their potential with his melodies.


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