Those Simian boys sure know how to call in a favor, eh? So far, their singles have been remixed by Prins Thomas, Switch, Armand Van Helden, Luke Vibert, Riton, Graham Massey of 808 State, and the “Hustler” single extends that to include Kevin Saunderson, Jesse Rose and Shackleton. I didn’t expect to see that last name on the list, but I was instantly intrigued when I did. “Hustler” is a raucous jam of bleeping bluster and boundless sassy energy. S. Shackleton gives off a darker vibe in his aggressively structured and ethnically influenced tracks, oftentimes fitting in the dubstep paradigm. But ever the shapeshifter, his take on “Hustler” is a different beast altogether.
Shackleton rides the rails of a ticking house beat, bittersweet harmonic burbles washing against the sides of vocal samples in pools of reverb. He fires off riffs into empty space and watches as they stretch further and further over hugely expansive bass pulses. His choice of vocal selections and their echo-laden treatment lend gravitas to lyrics like, “Gotta do what’chu gotta do” and “to stay alive.” There’s no romanticism in the Shackleton’s tone. However, the chord progressions and timbres he uses are among some of the most ear-pleasing he’s produced, though far from the pop mayhem of the original. Shackleton held up a mirror to this tune and captured a ragged minimalism befitting of its subject matter. It seems a bit of Ricardo Villalobos (who famously remixed his dystopian tune, “Blood On My Hands,” to epic proportions) has rubbed off on this shadowy producer. I think Ricardo would be proud, if he’s not already spinning this somewhere right now.
Also, I reviewed Martin Buttrich’s new single, “Hunter,” on RA. Some might be surprised that I’m not a bigger fan of it, but it’s a letdown in my book, especially the snoozephonic “Hunted.” I feel like he’s got something better inside of him yet, or at least I hope he does.