Sect, Sect 1

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[Sect Records]


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A few weeks ago an inconspicuous package appeared on my desk at work with a return address from über-retailers Juno and “Sect” emblazoned below my name. I shook out a plain white CD sleeve containing a disc marked “Sect 1” and nothing else. Usually whoever sent the promo is overeager to wax poetic about its contents; not this time. Curious, I popped it into my computer and iTunes told me it contained three tracks by The Yale Cellos from their album, Villa-Lobos. When I pressed play I was stunned to find I wasn’t hearing a cheeky string tribute to the man, but three of the most compelling house tracks I’ve heard in some time. Something was certainly afoot, and I pressed my contact at Juno for more information. Three weeks later I’m still in the dark and marveling at the mystery disc’s music.

One of the most striking things about “Sect 1” is that it sounds as if it were performed and mixed live. Elements appear and disappear suddenly and occasionally forcefully, sounding as if manually closed off by a quickly flung knob. But their performer never impedes upon the fastidiously crafted tracks which often twist in several directions at once as a result of contrasting internal syncopations. But these are natural, human shaped rhythms; the tunes pack a straightforward punch, are immediately accessible and prone to lodging themselves in listeners’ brains for days. (streams after the jump, play them LOUD)

The disc starts with a swift and slightly Latin-flavored track whose rippling toms, soft-footed kick, swaying chime pattern and chipper (and indecipherable) female vocals pump feverishly from the first few beats, requiring listeners to get acquainted quickly or be run over. It grows denser, picks up flaring hi-hats, a second synth gilding the chimes’ outlines and majestic pads looming large over the thrusting tune without sounding the least bit overcrowded. There’s a brief breather at about five and a half minutes, scaling back to just synths and chimes, but its many elements are hard to restrain, flitting in and out of the mix before the dam breaks and everything pumps to a fading close. To call the tune exhilarating would be understating how powerfully intoxicating its many layers and frantic pace can be.

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Not to be outdone, the second track rearranges jacking house structures to fit its unique needs and while retaining a slimmer profile. It begins with a man rattling off a list of commands — “work, dream, play, do, love, try, be, create, live, bang, jack, jack” — as a synthesizer pulses between a small handful of pitches and a shuffling drum loop clatters around a solid kick drum. While this second track is considerably more linear in nature, small details like ethereal synth burbles trickling below and heavily accented claps on four and then one of the next bar give this seemingly naked tune a detailed, human lining.

“Sect 1” concludes with the shortest and slowest track (still near 129 bpm, for reference), but its arrangements are as instantly danceable as those which came before it. Its main synth riff makes up for its standard tone with wild progressions coursing in intricate and colorful directions to the beat of a snare. Ascending swells and vivacious little leads pull the listener through the fray, where they encounter a strident call to take it “higher!” and, eventually, remarkable kick drum triplets — truly the icing on a decadently topped platter.

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After reading Little White Earbuds for a while I imagine most of you know I’m a sucker for an entertaining back story; but with Sect and his/her/their debut, “Sect 1,” I’m glad to let the music be all the narrative I need. The disc’s three songs could have been made any time over the last 15 years, with any assortment of basic equipment and by any number of people and the result would be the same — some of the best dance music I’ve heard to date. I don’t know when we’ll be fortunate enough to hear more from Sect or if it will see a wider release, but for all those passionate about house and techno I sincerely hope there’s more to be had and soon. Mystery producer revealed here. (post by Steve Mizek)

MickyMaus  on April 28, 2008 at 12:59 AM

Astonishing story!
the samples sound very promising, you made me very curious now… lets wait and see whats behind that sect.

antonio_pt  on April 28, 2008 at 5:46 AM

i really hope it eventually gets a vinyl release. the samples sound very promising!

yttrium  on April 28, 2008 at 10:16 AM

what is the moral dilemma pertaining to posting these as mp3s for all of us? is it still uncouth even if this mystery artist isn’t making these songs available for purchase?

littlewhiteearbuds  on April 28, 2008 at 10:24 AM

If I was posting mp3s for download there would be a greater dilemma than simply letting readers hear them at a lower bit rate. If someone wants to steal 96k samples, that’s their poor choice.

I didn’t feel like I could make a post about these great mystery tracks without proving something existed. Otherwise it would look like a bunch of overheated praise for something I could well be making up, especially if it takes a long time for it to hit the market. I think the artist(s) will only gain from having these tracks streamable, but would gladly relent they (or their surrogate) asked me to do so.

bigbernardo  on April 28, 2008 at 10:34 AM

Amazing story…At first I thought maybe this was just hype but you’re right…the tracks sound damn nice!
Was it the Romanians? Some unknown East-Berliner? Or maybe an underground Detroit genius? Hopefully we shall learn soon enough!

Sotek  on April 28, 2008 at 1:17 PM

Awesome tunes! Looking forward to the official release… hopefully.

mkb  on April 28, 2008 at 1:18 PM

Let’s see if we can guess the producer! $5 on Claude Young.

tibal  on April 28, 2008 at 1:19 PM

very exciting and also frustrating..It doesnt’ t sound new at all.It’ s timeless.Hard to find a clue as mentionned above…hope we hear more from sect.
Nice catch LWE

manuel  on April 28, 2008 at 1:53 PM

You better believe this is going to be heard on the night of May 7.
And I can’t wait to hear them.

tom/pipecock  on April 28, 2008 at 3:17 PM

“Let’s see if we can guess the producer! $5 on Claude Young.”

claude young? really? his recent stuff has been nothing at all like this. the vocal sounds american to me, but that could be jacked from somebody else quite easily. im not sure whom i would guess this is, but association with Juno makes me assume it would be a UK artist.

ninja  on April 28, 2008 at 6:35 PM

Keep us posted – nice tracks.

Think the vocal is “true to the roots of detroit techno soul”

todd  on April 29, 2008 at 8:35 AM

itunes recognized it as an album called villa-lobos ?? a clue

littlewhiteearbuds  on April 29, 2008 at 8:41 AM

The first song did sort of make me think RV was involved, but the other two had a different feel for me entirely. Wouldn’t be too surprised if this were a collaboration, though…

kuri  on April 29, 2008 at 9:19 AM

drum programming and vocal usage reminded more of DJ Bone’s recent output.

Fan  on April 29, 2008 at 5:42 PM

Nice music.

Agreed with Kuri.

Or possibly Stephen Brown.

Popjuristen  on April 30, 2008 at 5:08 AM

Amazing tracks!

To me its sounds like Shinedoe, Redshape and C2 stuck together in that same elevator that Kraftwerk and George Clinton once were stuck in ,according to Derrick May.

mkb  on April 30, 2008 at 8:12 PM

there’s a reason i only bet $5. :)

the villa-lobos thing is works by the composer heitor villa-lobos, yes? i bought a record of his works in a thrift store based on the name once. no resemblance!

buftontufton  on May 1, 2008 at 1:59 AM

It’s DJ Bone.

Details here: http://www.myspace.com/djbone313

Popjuristen  on May 1, 2008 at 2:52 AM

Yes! Dj Bone plays in Malmö, sweden, this saturday.

littlewhiteearbuds  on May 1, 2008 at 7:23 AM

Kuri and buftontufton are regular Sherlock Holmeses. Thanks, guys!

kuri  on May 1, 2008 at 2:04 PM

thanks. glad to know all those hours of listnening paid off. now what do I win 😉

littlewhiteearbuds  on May 1, 2008 at 2:30 PM

You get to keep reading, yay!

m1  on August 4, 2008 at 3:01 AM

Hey, SECT 1 is now available digitally from Juno Download at http://www.junodownload.com/labels/Sect and on 12″ at http://www.juno.co.uk/labels/Sect/

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