Phonogenic, The Raw Deal

[Room With A View]

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Finnish producer Phonogenic, with such a wide body of work spanning all sorts of good-but-not-great labels, might not be a producer you’re prone to get too excited about when there’s a new release on the horizon. But as with most producers of his caliber, every once in a while there’s a release that rises above reputation (or lack thereof), and Phonogenic’s debut turn on Room With A View is one of these. The Raw Deal is a set of four immense, restless, and meticulously produced deep house tracks almost on par with Andre Lodemann’s masterful Don’t Panic EP on the label.

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First up is “Tyrion,” a bubbly aquatic groover that hovers just above submerged, juggling strange sound effects, a bobbing bass line and rigidly marching hi-hats for a minimal-leaning track that sounds fidgety yet locked tightly in place. The rather salaciously titled “I Woke Up With Your Hair On My Hips” focuses around a jazzy vocal sample that melts into a Rhodes progression, hi-tech trickery with vintage house accents, while “The Raw Deal” goes back to the same atmospheric games as “Tyrion,” jacking up the atmospheric pressure to breaking point as chords billow out from underneath. Closer “Bells of Nuorgam” is almost mournful in comparison, the kick drum left naked to bear down on a sparse track littered with downbeat piano chords and eerie chimes. It’s the least polished track on the EP but still ensconced in reverb and glazed to a shiny veneer, a sign Phonogenic is more than capable technically as a producer, which makes me wonder if his name shouldn’t command more attention than it already does.

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