Hakim Murphy and Ike Release’s Innerspace Halflife may have seemed an unlikely pairing at first, but May’s Cosmology EP, released on Murphy’s Machining Dreams label, proved they’re more than comfortable together. The EP’s three tracks showed the two finding common ground in raw, shuffling jams, played with a dynamism that extended well beyond their chief reference point of golden-age Chicago house. Aroy Dee’s M>O>S is a sensible place for their next transmission to land, versed as it is in taking classic sounds down tough, occasionally psychedelic pathways.
“Wind” alternates between padded and unpadded kicks, with the pair injecting acid lines and disquietingly distorted pads between insistent open hi-hats and hammering rimshots. The frenetic movement between these elements alone qualifies it as solid dance-floor material, but it really peaks in its final few minutes of battering handclap patterns. For all the Chicago house revivalism that goes on these days, it’s rare (outside of the Jakbeat axis) to hear such a jack deployed so gutsily. Speaking of Jakbeat, Ike Release’s “Phazzled” on the B immediately recalls D’Marc Cantu’s “Set Free,” released last year on the same label, using a similarly flanged, scurrying effect to underline a measuredly slithering rhythm. The buzzing, pristine pads he drapes overhead are miles away from Cantu’s general ominousness, however, saturated with midnight skyline luxuriance. As accomplished as their debut was, Wind/Phazzled shows Innerspace Halflife and Ike Release solo making considerable, fruitful strides forward.