Policy, Specialty Party

“Alamo” by Liz Hickok

[Rush Hour Direct Current]

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Minted last year, Rush Hour’s Direct Current sub-label has thus far done a commendable job of cultivating a cohesive aesthetic in both sleeve design and production. Prior releases by FaltyDL, Cosmin TRG, and Aardvarck have showcased glossy, adventurous takes on garage-leaning house, and Specialty Party, the new 12″ from New York producer Policy, fits in neatly with them. The two tracks here are slack, drunken 2-step, neither (rhythmically, at least) a far cry from the more subdued end of FaltyDL’s catalog. In spite of this, Policy’s tracks are never as manic as that producer’s, and the sonics here convey a unique sort of nostalgic daze — nowhere near as overwhelming as Leyland Kirby’s work, but drawing from a similar place in the early twentieth century. B-side “Lights Over Fort Lee” is named after Fort Lee, New Jersey, the former capital of America’s film industry, and like the other cinematic touches on the release, it’s almost certainly related to Policy’s work as a filmmaker.

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A filtered organ sample ripped straight from an old Hollywood soundtrack repeats throughout “Specialty Party,” enshrouding it in a dim, albeit entrancing light. It’s accompanied by an array of streamlined, contemporary synthesizer sounds and a sludgy bass line, satisfyingly — if a bit clunkily — blending old and new. The 12″ comes equipped with vocal and instrumental versions, the only difference between them being the presence of a sample repeating the word “special” in different pitches on the former. This is a wise choice on the label’s part, as the sample’s vacuity borders on being obnoxious. “Lights Over Fort Lee” features a similar marriage between decaying, archaic samples and modern electronics, but the resultant track is much more robust than its counterpart. The pitch shifted vocal snatches — half chipmunk, half low and downcast — are expertly complemented by a bent synthesizer line and a variety of stabs and otherworldly strings. It’s a dense, lush mix, imbued with a stirringly resigned aura of fading glamor. Policy is working with a novel blend of influences here, and “Lights Over Fort Lee” proves he has the ability to capitalize upon them.

Blaktony  on February 22, 2011 at 4:30 PM

Love it, just good music.

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