BBH: Newworldaquarium, Heavy Metal

[Peacefrog]


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A couple months ago LWE’s Jordan Rothlein, while reviewing the latest Sound Signature record, painted a picture of house heads letting out a massive “Ohhhhh, dude” at the mere mention of Theo Parrish’s name. I would submit that Parrish’s European counterpart is none other than Newworldaquarium, to whom praise and t-shirt endorsements flow almost unimpeded. And the “Ohhhh, dude”s flow freely here as well, but in this case as natural, knee-jerk reactions to Peteri’s submerged and hypnotic grooves. With records for Delsin and related labels (M>O>S, his own NWAQ and APE) he’s carved out his own slowed-down corner of house music that few can replicate. While record shopping in Paris I stumbled upon Newworldaquarium’s Heavy Metal EP, released on Peacefrog in 2003, and snatched it without hesitation, something one should always do when confronted with a record by Jochem Peteri.

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Title track “Heavy Metal” takes the criticisms of Peteri’s work (“nothing happens”) to the extreme. Indeed, very few changes mark its surface, but those well versed in the NWAQ discography wont be surprised by a recent Slices interview where Peteri claimed he doesn’t care about “things happening.” He’s more concerned with creating environments, and “Heavy Metal'”s is a hazy, barren land where the stillness of the desert is felt in the tune’s relative inaction. While hardly his best work, it is a clear statement of intent that shows us his music is best enjoyed when you simply immerse yourself in it. On the flipside we’re treated to some more danceable grooves via “The Magnificent.” Bleached, whirring synth bursts sit atop grooving percussion and growling bass rasps. Very little in terms of variation but it doesn’t need much; for my money, its one of Peteri’s best tunes. The record closes out with “A Better Tomorrow,” which pulls back on the intensity and ends things on a twisting, dubbed out note. Newcomers to Newworldaquarium might do better to check some of his more popular records first (“Trespassers” springs pretty immediately to mind), but NWAQ obsessives tend to seek out as many bits of his material as possible, and Heavy Metal is one that could have easily flown under radars.

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