Innerspace Halflife is a new collaborative project between Chicago producers Ike Release and Hakim Murphy. The former is perhaps best known for his work on UK-bass label Infrasonics, while the latter tends to sonically stay closer to home, adapting the city’s various legacies for his brand of grooving, raw house tracks. The Cosmology EP, their debut for Murphy’s Machining Dreams label, sits closer to Chicago’s house legacy than any overseas “continuum,” but that isn’t to suggest that it lacks forward-thinking vitality.
Moreover, these three tracks bear all the marks of live, or at least semi-live, jams. That style of rough-around-the-edges production is very in-vogue right now, and the Cosmology EP makes a strong case for why that is. “Fodder” is almost 12 minutes long, building from a frisky, shuffling framework of punchy percussion into a mass of miscellaneous synthesizer angles. One gets the impression that the duo are almost randomly throwing sounds at the drums, but quite a lot of it manages to stick. The flip is similarly busy, if more atmospheric. On “Stratosphere,” they mix the same kind of frenetic tweakage with submerged organ, while “Grey Matter” finds them working with spaced-out pads and a lurching, acidic bass line. Their palette isn’t anything new, but the duo’s relentlessness in pushing their grooves around makes the Cosmology EP an exciting listen. It’s pretty much as far away as you can get from bland, formulaic tech house.