Ike Release/Hot City, Ike Release vs. Hot City

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[Infrasonics]


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I think we can pretty much all agree that when we’re talking about dubstep these days, we’re only nominally talking about dubstep. Like the theorized supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, that anemic, bass-powered sound of South London constituting dubstep in the strictest sense keeps a nearly infinite cosmic soup of highly disparate sounds in constant motion without registering much of a blip on its own. High-profile podcasts like The Village Orchestra’s “Blank Page” mix (moving from Boards of Canada to Zomby to Drexciya) and mnml ssgs’ recent SCB mix (in which Paul “Scuba” Rose finds parity between headfucker Donato Dozzy and funky drummer Roska) ostensibly rep dubstep in 2009 as much as DJ Hatcha’s “Dubstep Allstars: Vol. 01” mix comp did in 2004. It’s not uncommon in dance music for the signifier to lose its signified (see: minimal techno), but it’s perhaps rare for a genre or sub-genre to improve as its title becomes diluted to the point of possible meaninglessness. While the line between Horsepower Productions and the Hotflush roster might not be yardstick-straight, but how brilliant is it that such a line exists in the first place?

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So it’s from this era of dictionary burning that Ike Release, a Berliner by way of Chicago (and staffer at mp3 retailer zero”), and Hot City, a bass-loving London house revivalist, would come to assemble one of the year’s most solid dubstep 12″s. Infrasonics’ two previous releases have showcased the considerable tech-step talents of label proprietor Spatial and each measured 10 inches in diameter, so the label’s third release finds it departing from its comfort zone before the slab’s even out of its sleeve. When the needle first drops on Ike Releases’ A-side you might think Infrasonics’ innovations end with what’s printed on the label. If that’s your assessment, then you should listen more carefully. Retaining the chain-gang beat science that made Spatial’s last two records so enjoyable, these two tracks could probably bang along just fine without the reverb-laden, glossy synths they keep boiling. Their presence, however, scores a few points for maximalism, especially on the devastating, two-stepping “Misdeeds.” It sounds like precisely the big moment Infrasonic has been building to so far. Hot City’s side makes for a somewhat bigger departure. The producer’s sample-spiked, lo-fi fidget house doesn’t scream dubstep, but I sense Infrasonics’ logic. When the breakdown hits about halfway through “Setting Me Free,” its tart organs and downward bass movement conjure Skream but pulse like a Will Saul set. (Not that Will Saul has been at all opposed to dubstep lately.) “No More” moves Hot City’s distorted bass even more into the realm of contemporary house, sounding not entirely unlike something Diynamic might release. All of this disregard for genre hegemony begs the question: might dubstep, like house, be a feeling? So long as labels like Infrasonics are around to shoot strange new iterations into orbit, I’d say we should be cool with that.

Tsiridis  on September 18, 2009 at 6:15 AM

All about Setting Me Free here! Been killin it for a while now,
bigfun partytrack!

rubin  on September 18, 2009 at 9:53 AM

good to see this featured, that clip is definitely running double speed… or is it on 45 instead of 33? didn’t realise that still happened in these digital days!

littlewhiteearbuds  on September 18, 2009 at 10:51 AM

That’s strange, it’s playing fine for us. What browser are you using?

braden  on September 18, 2009 at 12:38 PM

these tunes are great. hadn’t heard of this before, but its spot on.

rubin  on September 18, 2009 at 4:37 PM

Listened at work on firefox, now at home using the same and it seems to have sorted itself out. Great track.

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