Joshua Iz, Vizual Rydims #2

[Vizual Records]


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Back in 2000 at the apogee of Classic Records and Music For Freaks, DJs and producers such as DJ Sneak, Justin Harris and of course Derick Carter were de rigour. The entire Chi-Town bent on boompty bass lines and a serious penchant for fun sounds, be it the unfortunately too short lived Charleston house sound exemplified by Greens Keepers’ “What’s Your Man Got To Do With Gan” (and check the Igloo Records and G-Swing imprints) to bells, whistles, meows and barks blew up dance floors and headphones. On the flip side there were the deeper house sounds of Chicago with Iz & Diz’s enduring “Mouth” on Classic and “If You Love It, Dub It” on Silver Network. That’s probably how you know Iz; these days he’s all about his new imprint Vizual Records, using it as a vehicle to release music across the gamut of electronic music from Jamaican dub to Detroit techno. As with many contemporary solo artist led imprints, all the initial releases have been by Iz himself, but they’ve not lacked diversity. After an honorary bow to boompty on the first Vizual Rydims release, he decided to take a slightly deeper, Detroit lean while attempting to retain a hint of breeze from the windy city.

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Aptly opening with “Deep Space Pressure,” rolling along a taut bass line which opens up to reveal haunted sweeping echoed pads around which melodic synths evocative of dub-techno in the vein Basic Channel’s Quadrant (especially 1990 classic “Infinition”) fill the space. Strangely enough the track wouldn’t be completely out of place on Deadbeat mix, but yet fails to have the same drive of either classics or newer releases in the genre. “Galaxy Girl” attempts, and almost succeeds, to connect the dots between Chicago and Detroit with a subdued bottom-end and a DJ Sneak-esque vocal sample twinned with chattering hats and echoes synths populating the periphery of aural landscape. Yet unfortunately it falls short of great and landing in the realm of average. “Orbital Dimensions” is the housiest number on the EP, shuffling along in an accomplished, though lackluster Chicago by numbers manner throughout its eight minutes. It’s only with “Earthrise” that Joshua Iz reveals a glimmer of the production skills he’s built his career on. A touch of viscerally moving Detroit techno with opposing synths appearing to dissolve and reappear in the mix, just to be complemented by immersive emotive keys telling the story of the ghost in the machine. Unfortunately not as solid a release as one would hope from Iz, but if the trajectory Vizual Records is on thus far is anything to go by, the following releases may well surprise detractors. Myself included.

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