The concept of trying a dance floor is nothing new. DJs, in all their contrarian glory, love pushing our buttons, forcing us outside our comfort zone and leaving us to fend for ourselves amid the weird. Sometimes, it’s done in such a blatant manner that you wouldn’t mistake their effort as anything other than an attempt at polarization. (Here’s looking at you, Theo Parrish.) Yet in other circumstances, a producer may take his or her concept a step further; seeing out the estranged concept as to not only garner confused looks on the floor, but also get some bodies writhing in time with the facial contortions. On his previous release, 2010’s Claptrap on Hessle, Joe worked this approach to near perfection. As our own Chris Miller noted upon its release, “Few singles this year can move a crowd as adeptly as this,” and that’s in reference to a track that prominently bears the sound of someone clearing their nasal passages. With nary a release since, it’s not difficult to imagine Joe spending the past two years holed up in a basement bunker, slapping together field recordings of divergent magnitudes until two eventually stuck.
And so we arrive at “Studio Power On,” the B-side to this single on Untold’s Hemlock Recordings. Horror-movie music in the most intrinsic sense, the track is constructed around the samples of glass breaking and a block of wood being sawed. It’s ominous enough in it’s own right, yet the haphazard drum backing only ups the tension as we’re left to anticipate an eventual breakdown. Eschewing the arrival of such, we’re instead berated with a bloodcurdling synth rush that doesn’t so much sync with the proceedings as pounce on top of them. Back on the A, “MB” is downright breezy in contrast. It’s a clinic in sampling of an entirely different accord as a lightweight Tropicália-tinged guitar riff runs throughout the duration, weaving among a field of hand-claps and meek bell chimes. The comparison to a RZA production is made worthy not only by the Far East-indebted gong that sounds at the jump, but also the realization that Ghostface and Raekwon wouldn’t sound out of place shadowboxing throughout. Even if it takes Joe another two years to turn out two tracks as varied and masterful in construction as “Studio Power On” and “MB,” by all means let it.