Olin, De Bus

[god particle]

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Last year, when his cut “Finally” appeared in our top tracks list, I asked, “What will Olin deliver in 2013?” Well, the man born Jason Garden certainly kept us hanging with his third record. Third under the Olin heading, that is. Using other names, Garden has been releasing music for several years now. Of late, he’s favored a bare-boned aesthetic, distilling arrangements to their absolute essentials and wringing them dry. De Bus — the inaugural record for Sassmouth’s god particle imprint — tests the limits of this blueprint. The result is a clockwork-feel tech house, akin to that of Joel Mull (“Klangfarben”) and Gregor Tresher (“Lights From the Inside”). Here, however, the Chicago man is more sparing than either of those producers.

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In the title track, an off-beat piano chord is the sole constant, with a cast of cowbells, bowed strings, plastic snares and synthy swooshes revolving around it. Admirably, Garden keeps things interesting throughout, though on the flipside, he never really manages to make them take off, either. On other labels, that might have been a stumbling block. But things are different on God Particle, which shoots for “Loopy, groove-oriented house and techno tracks that connect the dots for DJs during their sets.” In that sense, “De Bus” is a good fit. True to this ideal, Sassmouth’s remix changes very little, mainly shuffling the arrangement and tweaking effects. On the B-side, “Lift” plays host to Garden’s cosmic inclinations, drawing luminous lines across a spacious canvas and punctuating them with punchy drums. For my money, it fulfills the aforementioned mission statement with far more panache, spinning a dense, quirky personality without sacrificing groove — the pleasant pings of “De Bus” struggle to compete.

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