Cottam, Deep Deep Down

[Aus Music]

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Minor-key Rhodes stabs and k-holes aside, I’m really not sure what “deep” means in dance music. Like the divide between house and techno itself, we know it when we hear it, and what it means to me isn’t necessarily what it means to you. One would be hard pressed, though, to listen to the music of Paul Cottam — known simply as Cottam to those lucky enough to have snagged one of his elusive, untitled 12″s from the last few years — and not comment on its deepness: slow, syrupy, and supple, his records sound like what Radio Slave might make if you put him up at a mansion in Maui and superglued a bong to his face. Cottam wouldn’t be so effectively hotboxing parties worldwide, though, if it weren’t for the top-shelf quality of his productions and the fullness of the aesthetic he inhabits, and one wouldn’t expect a producer making music at this level to stay more or less anonymous forever. He couldn’t have picked a better place to raise his profile than Aus Music, a label that’s having as good a 2011 as any. To say that Cottam has risen to the occasion with his biggest 12″ yet honestly might be something of an understatement.

Feel how you will about the producer’s embrace of his own pigeonholing: “Deep Deep Down” owns its title and truly sends you somewhere you’ll have to claw your way back from. Where the humidity of Cottam’s earlier work seems to derive from the tropics, the sweatbox that is the first two minutes or so of “Deep Deep Down” sounds like the result of an utter lack of ventilation at the world’s most subterranean basement rave. But as the sun rises inch by inch (in the form of one of the more soaring yet tasteful sax licks in house music in a minute) over a paranoid 303 pattern and prickly sub-bass, we’re whipped into a most transcendent of hysteria. While the tempo, at about 118 BPM, is slow by many producers’ standards, it’s not for Cottam, and it feels like he’s gearing up for a gallop with each unfolding of his beat. Luckily, our producer never breaks a sweat, though we on the floor sure do.

Vakula, truly one of the most interesting house producers working at the moment, seems on paper like a brilliant addition to the package, though his pairing with Cottam makes for something a bit less than the sum of its parts. His re-envisioning of “Deep Deep Down” is nearly Villalobosian in its strangeness — not necessarily a bad thing, but when one of the pleasures of the original is its sheer directness, you may feel like something important is missing here. On the flip, “Twang” hits all of Cottam’s right notes: snidely catchy bass line, fleeting vocal sample, perfectly placed everything. If it doesn’t excite quite like the main event, it’s because few tracks manage to be epic (and, it must be said, deep) in such a singular and confident way. It’s 6 a.m. somewhere, and like some kind of after-hours superhero, Cottam is fast assuming the title of ultimate mind-warper, here to keep late nights pure and safe from the menace of tomorrow.

Amir Alexander  on November 15, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Yes Sir! That, is what’s up! Great track. Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

Cottam  on November 16, 2011 at 5:31 AM

Wow, thank you so so much for the kind words. I’m shocked and gobsmacked;0)

brian  on November 16, 2011 at 6:10 AM

I recently played Cottam’s track “Sunrise Sunset” (the A side of his Use of Weapons EP at 45rpm pitched down by 7/8%. What a discovery! It is transformed from a low tempo chugger into an epic piece of mid-90s acidy electronica. Highly recommended!

Per Bojsen-Moller  on November 16, 2011 at 9:40 AM

Fantastic release, Cottam and Vakula never disappoint

Banezzi  on November 17, 2011 at 3:50 AM

something a bit less than the sum of its parts? vakula remix is one of the best things I’ve heard this year! :)
originals on par of course..

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