Unknown artist, The Freeze/The Melt Down

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The last time Juno Records unexpectedly sent me an anonymous release they were unveiling Sect Records, the London based, nearly white-label imprint which certainly made its impact. What would soon be revealed as DJ Bone’s No Sleep (True to Da Roots), in all its raw glory, tore through our charts to claim LWE’s top single slot in 2008. The latest record to receive Juno’s largess tries to seem anonymous in spite of its striking, purple marbled vinyl and a garrulous press sheet that makes The Freeze/The Melt Down seem like a blind item: Which boldfaced U.S. house producer drew dancers to the booths at Panorama Bar and Fabric with this incognito platter? LWE’s interview with Levon Vincent and a frank review of the record on Juno’s propaganda arm, Juno Plus, suggest the New York-based producer is quite possibly its composer. The music in its grooves fits the bill, yet it lacks some of the potency that usually accompanies his name on a record.

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Grounded in familiarly granular aesthetics, the tracks seem harvested from the same recording session. “The Freeze” takes a relatively spare approach to raising heart rates, reinforced by the clever layering of its decaying bass lines, accented in conspicuously tweaked ride cymbal hits and whistle tweets. When its melodic phrase arrives it’s monosyllabic, fluctuating the pitch only occasionally and never far from home. It’s a muscular track that seems ripest for club settings where the bass thunders and its lack of melodic development seems less important than the overall atmosphere it fosters. Meanwhile, “The Melt Down” can’t help but pile more layers to sweat through onto the framework laid out by “The Freeze.” Yet in its defrosting haste the auxiliary elements arrive and make themselves known without concern for how they all fit together. Digital woodblock knocks, blurry synth thrusts, busy little oscillations and a dopey, two-note progression all jockey for listeners’ attention, most seemingly played live and many unquantized. Like a wilting ice cream cone “The Melt Down” is messy and not easy to enjoy, overcompensating for the modesty of “The Freeze.” It’s understandable that whoever made this single wanted to capture it on wax, but its limited print run and half-hearted obscurity is telling: The Freeze/The Melt Down is not a record you expect to pull out often but one you’re happy enough to own for posterity.

harpomarx42  on May 24, 2010 at 11:02 PM

I have a strong feeling that this is a Jus-Ed/Levon Vincent collaboration. If you listen to some of Jus-Ed’s latest tracks on his album, these tracks sound like alternate takes of existing ones. Don’t hold me to it, though!

scroat  on June 2, 2010 at 1:33 PM

Boring track. Marbled vinyl and pretentious “anonymous” hype does not equal posterity based purchase for me. Maybe if they bring the heat like the Wax releases, basic channel, or early omar-s, i’d feel differently.

littlewhiteearbuds  on June 2, 2010 at 6:26 PM

From the sound of Jus-Ed’s track “SHIT” from his new album (a sample of which can be heard here: http://www.juno.co.uk/miniflashplayer/SF388520-01-01-01.mp3), I think Jason is probably right. This is either a Jus-Ed release or a collabo.

rubber  on October 28, 2010 at 12:17 PM

Scroat : “pretentious anonymous” postings on public forums are awful. The guys that make up UQ don’t have a pretentious bone in their body. They are just trying to do something special in a generic world, despite you.

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