ItaloJohnson, ITJ 07

[ItaloJohnson]


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As most DJs know (and DJing has taught me over time), some functional records that sound limp on their own can prove essential in the context of a mix. Often reduced to spacious percussion patterns and one or two recurring elements, these DJ tools serve admirably as the glue between lush standout tracks which would struggle to fit together on their own. This hasn’t lead to wholesale reevaluations of toolish tracks I’ve panned, but it’s certainly opened up a greater appreciation for the music of groups like ItaloJohnson. This faceless, Berlin-based three-piece has built their name on the backs of seven volumes of stripped back, light-on-frills house which slot nicely into a broad range of DJ sets. Although previous entries in their hand-stamped white-label series have appeared in plenty of DJs’ crates since 2010, ITJ 07 is the first to have me reaching for my wallet within moments of hearing it.

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The three untitled tracks on ITJ 07 are exemplary of what distinguishes satisfying tools from the generic hordes, each containing subtly intricate percussion patterns whose empty spaces lock into the crannies of tracks they’re mixed with. The A-side chops a hardcore drum break into swung chunks, anchored by booming bass rubs and backhanded hi-hats, to carve out a sensually syncopated groove for rumps to follow. Unquantized calls to “swing my way” heighten the mood, which reaches near delirium as sinking washes combine with a brilliantly simple bass line to release the tension. The stomping “B1” is more straightforward, its 90s influenced snare patterns and cutting ride cymbals providing the framework over which euphoric melodies warble triumphantly. “B2” is the workhorse of the pack, trudging forward with a bullhead bass line and filtered vocal samples that eventually unravel midway to inject energy into the record’s most heads-down moment. Where many DJ tools feel like necessary small talk in a larger conversation, each ITJ 07 cut adds a complete thought which stands on its own — transcending their toolish nature without sacrificing playability. And so the legend of ItaloJohnson grows.

deloco  on July 30, 2013 at 4:22 AM

brilliant record

anaxander  on July 30, 2013 at 11:16 AM

killer beats !! nice review..

Trackbacks

Little White Earbuds July Charts 2013 | Little White Earbuds  on August 3, 2013 at 9:56 AM

[…] ItaloJohnson, “Untitled A1″ [ItaloJohnson] (buy) 07. Blondes, “Elise” [RVNG Intl.] (buy) 08. Terekke, […]

Little White Earbuds August Charts 2013 | Little White Earbuds  on August 30, 2013 at 4:36 PM

[…] The Speaker] 04. Lukas Nystrand von Unge, “En slags popmusik” [Studio Barnhus] 05. ItaloJohnson, “Untitled A1″ [ItaloJohnson] 06. Sabre, “Nightdrive to Bolland” [W.T. Records] 07. Modular Cowboy, […]

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