Various Artists, All Night Long EP’s 1 & 2

[Aus Music]

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Dubstep may have found a novel approach to its inherent darkness and sparseness in techno; might there be an alternate path, though, one in which dubstep finds less subterranean manifestations in the dapper grooves of house? Aus Music, the debonair and slightly experimental tech-house imprint founded by Will Saul and Fin Greenall, answered in the affirmative with its recent and astounding Appleblim & Komonazmuk rework of (Greenall-fronted) Sideshow’s “If Alone.” The label continues its genre-melding trek with two new EPs of exclusive tracks from All Night Long, Saul’s new mix celebrating Aus’ twentieth release. Though never quite reaching the sublime heights of “If Alone,” Saul has curated four generally strong sides of house music in flux.

Of the old-guard Aus-house comprising the first EP, only MyMy’s contribution, their first release in 2009 and possibly one of their finest moments yet, pushes the template forward. Imbued with restless synth syncopation and plaintive bass stabs, “Going Going Gone” glitches and rumbles before a late breakdown injects a soulful piano into the mix. The richness of influences — Luomo, Isolee, Martyn on the pianos, and even Aphex Twin — MyMy evokes exactly the sort of deep listen (and secret weapon) Saul must have had in mind for his mix. MyMy’s Lee Jones, whose “Aria” and “As You Like It” have brought Aus two of its biggest hits thus far, serves up another slice of his signature fun-house minimal with “Lab.” Like a lost Jamie Jones or Lee Burridge side (and one both will surely play out), “Lab” has deep bass bounce, a seriously stoned vocal sample, and some unidentifiable, filtered-to-perfection triplet percussion. It’s enjoyable but a mere trifle by Lee Jones’ standards. Despite an interesting and emotive melody, Freerange mainstay Shur-i-kan turns in merely average disco-house on the flip; likewise, Saul and Tam Cooper, an often unbeatable pairing for energy-shoring house tools (let 2007’s “Out There…” on Aus sister label Simple take you to school), don’t do their best work on “Heartwave.” The whole EP stays faithful to what you’d expect from Aus, but given the riskier, hungrier work found on EP 2, you leave these tracks feeling like the veterans haven’t quite risen to the challenge.

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“All Night Long EP 2” finds several of dubstep’s leading lights trying their hand at the style the first EP’s producers are best-known for. I’m not sure you could even call what Appleblim or Ramadanman are releasing these days “dubstep,” but “Sous Le Sable” finds both producers taking their biggest leaps yet. Appleblim’s recent remixes have embraced a four-to-the-floor push that lends his bass-heavy sensibilities a distinctive forward movement. Mixing that tripping rush with Ramadanman’s expert sound design and a pinch of Aus stateliness, “Sous Le Sable” could keep all kinds of dance floors afloat over the course of its ten minutes. Needless to say, it sounds like little else on the shelves right now in its tempo range. The aforementioned Martyn, quickly becoming the Seth Rogan of dance music, contributes a cut from his astoundingly prolific suburban Maryland studio. (He drops two cuts on the EP’s digital release, though “Electric Purring” doesn’t do anything musically or conceptually the rest of your Martyn collection isn’t already doing.) If it’s the least inspiring cut on here, it’s not because it isn’t pretty solid. Dense and sweaty like much of Great Lengths but a good deal slower, “For Lost Relatives” wiggles around Martyn’s fine piano playing without doing much more than running in circles. “Indelible,” the EP’s energetic highlight and closer from the mysterious Pearson Sound, draws heavily on the UK funky sound of Roska and Uncle Bakongo. But every so often, as storm clouds of marching snares and twitchy bass drums clear, a ray of Echospace reveals how far underwater this party actually is. Crossing genres, taking leaps and moving rooms, Aus Music seems to be planting all the right seeds for a supremely bountiful future-house harvest.

chris m  on June 30, 2009 at 10:36 AM

wow, that my my tune is great. too bad the rest of that ep is a letdown.

‘sous le sable’ is simply outstanding. ‘justify’, another ramadanman & appleblim collab, is out monday on apple pips and also fabulous.


uptownboogiedown » Blog Archive » Ike Release/Hot City, Ike Release vs. Hot City  on September 17, 2009 at 11:46 PM

[…] bass movement conjure Skream but pulse like a Will Saul set. (Not that Will Saul has been at all opposed to dubstep lately.) “No More” moves Hot City’s distorted bass even more into the realm of […]

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