Ten Walls, Gotham EP

[Innervisions]


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For every crop of so-so records that are accompanied by a novella’s worth of press releases telling interchangeable origin stories, there’s an exceptional disc about which so little is known that we’re clamoring for a scrap of context. Words are cheap, and a sliver of mystery goes a long way in focusing our attention spans. It’s a welcome anxiety when something is as rich as Ten Walls’ Gotham EP — a slice of vibe-laden deep house that hardly seems to touch the ground. Apart from the fact that it’s appearing on Dixon and Âme’s Innervisions label, we know nothing about Ten Walls apart from the fact that the producer can make some very accomplished music. Each of the EP’s three tracks touches a distinct style rooted in house, but each grows unpredictably according to its own internal logic. All we can tell is that we’re guided by hands steady enough to take us through the snake-charmer breakdown on “Epos” as if snake-charmer breakdowns were a common enough occurrence.

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Stylistic dexterity aside, A-side “Gotham” is definitely the main attraction here, even for deep-cut connoisseurs. Ten Walls has constructed the first side to feel like a dusted-off gem, and only takes the EP to deeper depths from there. “Gotham” sustains rapt attention for its nine-minute length thanks to expert pacing. The first half establishes a beautiful, shifty-eyed mood with a restless synth line that plops and slashes against the drum pattern. In the second half, a Carpenter-esque arpeggio cartwheels into place, mimicking the central motif at points but mostly just spinning so fast it appears to go backward. This sort of underplayed transition arrives about once per track to give a huge kick to the momentum and dramatic stakes while also reinforcing a comely restraint — such producerly nudges are as lush as the dreamy melodies. “Epos” has more going on. It’s a slice of mirage-like deep house that skates over a dulcet string progression and is punctuated by belching gobs of bass. “Moag” concludes the EP’s vibe adventure, slowing things down to a sleepwalker’s pace. With moaning, delay-treated pads and dribs and drabs of 303 concentrate, the song could easily find its way onto revisionist copies of Recondite’s stately acid meditation, On Acid. Then Gotham trails off in a swirl of incense. Without a narrative framing device, we’re just left with a lingering mood. And that’s more than enough.

ComfyCozy  on June 29, 2013 at 9:12 AM

i LOVE style of lwe writers. love love love

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