Don Froth, Reflexed EP


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After a earlier failed attempt at physical release, the LA producer Don Froth thankfully uses his own resources to put out a platter of dark, pulsing techno and house — a pared-down and souped-up version of last December’s release on Uno NYC, which didn’t manage to stretch past digital format. The stellar Anthony “Shake” Shakir remix remains, as it should, joined by two reworkings by Mr. Froth and a remix from West Norwood Cassette Library’s Bob Bhamra, on whose label he’s released previously. Overall, this is a subtly left-of-center EP, but one that still has the power to upset drinks and thud chests. It totally deserved the renewed attention of its creator.

The A-side is a special one. The revamped “Reflex” is a loopy, plastic bit of floor techno, percussion scattering and slippery beneath the hard veneer, with a suction of bass sliding magnetically through it. Shake attacks perceptively, shuffling the beat like a deck of cards with the practiced looseness of a veteran dealer. Pulling you straight in, his remix is a wild-eyed, careening dancer, reeling with extreme yet controlled syncopation. Featuring a skein of hypnagogic synths and touches of hardcore and jungle, this is a masterclass in remixing and an intense, unnerving piece of broken techno that makes this record quite unmissable.

The second side of the release has its moments, presenting some interesting approaches to what is resolutely club music. Something obtuse in the sound palette, coupled with frequent losses of momentum, prevents the robotic fury of Don Froth’s “Big Jeep” mix of “Tunnelvision” from properly contextualizing a shockwave of a bass line that has the potential to pulverize. West Norwood Cassette Library’s version takes the sonar bleeps of the original into an uptempo and bubbly conflation of hip-house energy and glam 2-step. While not among his very best productions, Bhamra’s enduring disregard for stylistic conventions is always engaging.

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