Painting by Sam Francis
The San Francisco club night Icee Hot has been setting a strong example in its field for a few years now, and has — almost at the same time as its spiritual UK counterpart, Crazylegs — morphed into a record label that serves to express its aesthetic further from its home. The first release comes from one of its key founders, Ghosts On Tape, who over the past couple of years has already released a handful of tracks that stood out thanks to their interesting blend of influences, beat experimentation, and tangible enthusiasm.
The lead track is a rising, swelling, flailing dancer’s rhythm, heated like a sweaty room full of colliding bodies. There are elements of dub techno and South African deep house, as a resonant and hypnotic ringing rides the track like digitally created steel drums, and all kinds of percussive layers subtly traverse the mix. “No Go” in some ways reflects the recent movement, led by Blawan and Mosca, towards a new ilk of dark-yet-accessible bassy techno cuts with a garage-informed bounce. This pulls it off better than most, with an authentic solidity reminiscent of Robert Hood, as harsh yet dubbed out sonic whip-cracks ricochet atop a grinding, disturbing friction of bass. Lando Kal’s remix of “Nature’s Law” pushes the techno aspects, removing the heady rushes without creating anything new of real interest in their stead. Jus-Ed’s take, on the other hand, pinpoints the original’s vein of immersive, trance-inducing qualities and blows it up. Riding the filter control like a master, he delivers a woozy-yet-lucid dub-techno-cum-deep-house journey.