Enchanté, Born Free 8

[Born Free Records]

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The music of London’s Guy Gormley traverses wide stylistic territories, with past releases taking in gauzy hip-hop, sample-driven, slowed-and-throwed R&B, and even twisted soca. Delicately crafted and beautifully paced, his productions as Enchanté are always anchored by a solid exoskeleton, inside which melodic washes rebound off of (sometimes all too familiar) vocal snippets. In this sense, his new 12″ (with a remix by Willie Burns) on Born Free Records isn’t miles away from what Sling & Samo, the Stockholm-/Hong Kong-based label bosses, are doing with some of their own tunes. Being Gormley’s second contribution, this new pair of tracks possesses similar textural qualities to his previous efforts, with gelatinous vocal trickery seeping between the adventurous rhythm patterns, but this time he centers on house tempos and results in his best work to date.

Charged with breathless tension, “NT” starts off as a pummeling DJ tool, with impressively multi-layered, interlocking rolling drums curling up and down the scale. Over time, though, it’s the pinwheeling tremolo and pitch-bent howling samples that steal the show, creating a sense of demented, wild-eyed, running-up-the-walls celebration. On the flip, “I Want It” also contains a feast of soul-vocal snatches, although in a more traditional way. The anthemic chords soften the restless percussion with a slight UK swing, while floating pads cover the backdrop. The loveliest moment arrives two minutes in, when the track’s buoyant soul vocals and effervescent harmonica solos break into a kind of parallel lite-jazz riffing, and afterwards gradually drown back to their regular spot in the composition. On his remix of “I Want It,” Willie Burns eschews the vocal lushness of the original and replaces it with a playful, if not somewhat goofy, call-and-response use of the source material, all before plunging into a chord-heavy, 114-BPM epic. Proving that slow can be fast too his idiosyncratic interpretation presents a cherry on top of this superb 12″, which in itself marks an important landmark in Enchanté’s stylistic development and a rock-solid contribution to Born Free Records’ wildly eclectic roster.

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