Pezzner, The Tracks Are Alive EP

[Freerange Records]


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Seattle’s Dave Pezzner may still seem like a new kid on the block, but if you’ve been in the game long enough odds are you’ve heard of his past work as one half of Classic Records signed jaunty house smiths Jacob London. Alongside Bob Hansen, Pezzner brought us discerning dance floor bangers with titles such as “Regular Absorbency” and “Pinecones Are Complicated” starting in 1998. As that project began to wind down, Pezzner relaunched himself as a solo artist with a load of experimentally edged though thoroughly floor-friendly house cuts for Freerange Records and Om. He’s also become quite in demand for remixes, having worked over tracks by Lusine, Milton Jackson, Terry Lee Brown Jr., Mark Farina and Chris Lattner. On The Tracks Are Alive EP, the first taken from his debut album of the same name, Pezzner gets sit back and be remixed by Rozzo, Ryo Murakami, and Jay Shepheard.

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Pezzner’s original is a testament to his love of all things just a smidge left of center, a straight up house track that sets itself apart with an inspired sonic palette. Tubby acoustic drums and brusque, streamlined horn stabs set the track on a direct path that goes a bit wobbly as if the elements were warping in the summer sun. It’s somewhat rare for house tracks this weird and singularly fashioned to stomp this hard. André Schmid, better known as Rozzo and as the core member of Mountain People, seems in his element as he takes on the title track. Stripped back to terse, shuffling hi-hats and a bare bass line, the remix pops out of Schmid’s mold with his trademarked minor chord progression fastened on and pointing the way. He also dapples the subtle, snaking groove in vocal snippets dipped in reverb to give the track a more human touch. While not as distinctive or timeless as some of his own productions, the remix holds its own as an early morning mover that’s perfect for DJs looking to pace themselves.

Ryo Murakami takes the track to more stereotypical deep house territory but with enough noteworthy details to keep it feeling fresh and lovely. Opening on spacious organ chords, its reverberating drums gives off a dusty, almost vintage feel that grows stronger as it unfolds and reveals open hats and punchy claps. But what truly sets his remix apart are the sparingly used vocal drops (“Us!” they cry), languid bass guitar lines and hints of guitar noodles that echo the hands-on feel imparted by Pezzner’s original. If listeners aren’t dancing to this there’s a good chance they’ll end up reclining to drink it all in. UK born, Berlin resident Jay Shepheard brings proceedings to a close by remixing Pezzner’s “Find Me.” With a funk inspired guitar lick acting as its rudder, the track straddles the line between funkier and arguably more commercial deep house in a precarious way. Its studded bass line and filtered female vocals provide just enough momentum to keep its slender frame in motion without breaking a sweat. All in all, a quite solid package.

Correction: The review incorrectly noted that Jay Sheapherd remixed the EP’s title track instead of “Find Me.” The text has been edited to reflect this change.

Marco Snooze  on July 28, 2010 at 2:59 PM

Nice review, however the reason the Jay Shepheard remix doesn’t sound like the others is because its of a different track. The other artists remix “The Tracks Are Alive” while Shepheard remixes “Find Me” – another track from the Pezzna album, hence the guitar lick + vocals. Probably a good idea to read the track names before publishing your reviews in future … 😉

littlewhiteearbuds  on July 28, 2010 at 3:04 PM

It appears the copy of the promo we received was mislabeled. We’ll make a note of it in the review.

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