Cottam, Relapse EP

[Aus Music]

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Almost exactly a year on from his last release on Aus Music, Paul Cottam returns with another thorough and contemplative three-track foray into the deep, rolling recesses of his musical mind. As if this freakish timing wasn’t already enough cause for concern, for 2012’s Relapse EP the wily personnel at Aus HQ have once again solicited the remix services of an Eastern European producer: off slinks last year’s choice Vakula in place of Romania’s Cosmin TRG. It must be said however, that the more stark likenesses end there. Where “Deep Deep Down” was unashamedly insular and very techy, and “Twang” by comparison incongruously soulful and groovy, “Relapse” and “I Remember” at least appear to have been conceived within a similar context of mood or artistic intent. The title track begins in a downward spiral; by the time Cottam turns loose his first firm kick, the listener already finds herself ensnared in the record’s complex rhythmic framework. As ever with Cottam, the emphasis is on the infectious power of the rolling groove, here achieved through warm, spacey pads layered over some simple, bouncy synth play and a wonderfully airy bit of reverberated trumpet. The result is slow, deep — but still very accessible — house music.

Cosmin’s rendition keeps fairly close to the original, if roughly 10 BPM faster. With his dance floor in mind, TRG transforms the central bass line into something drastically more dynamic and punchy and adds in some zestful, if brief, instances of gripping synth work. The record’s heavy, cinematic ambience is left intact however, leaving the track feeling suitably epic, if at times a little cluttered. “I Remember,” true to its name, begins with an air of introspective nostalgia. Over the course of an extended four-minute intro, Cottam weaves a sonic tapestry of crisp kicks, understated, rippling synths, and subtly rising pads, only to then unravel this serene setting with the sudden advent of a menacing thug of a bass line, brought in with the abrupt intensity and vigor we so often see deployed by Fred P or Levon Vincent. Soon enough however, the record’s placid components mold and manipulate the new addition to suit their languid purpose, managing even to assimilate a loop or two of genuine 808 tweak into proceedings before drawing to a soothing close. Cottam’s output rarely appears to consist of anything but ardent labors of love; as you sit there, listening repeatedly to his lengthy, flowing productions, you can almost envisage the man himself sitting at his computer, composing and nodding away with equal intent. All we can hope is that Will Saul feels the same and actually ensures that a November Cottam release on Aus Music becomes an annual tradition.

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