Various Artists, Laid006

[Laid]


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In only a handful of months the still fresh Laid imprint has made quite a name for itself. Despite being born in the shadow of its older brother label, Dial, Laid has quickly established its own area of expertise, pummeling record buyers with five solid singles of dance floor-primed house music while Dial vascilates between floor friendly and leftfield sounds. The sixth record to don a lux Laid sleeve is the first showcasing multiple artists’ originals, for which they’ve collected some of the freshest names around for a survey of the current state of deep house on both sides of the Atlantic. Hamburger Christopher Rau and New Yorker-cum-Berliner John Roberts are both members of the extended Dial family while New Yorker Fred P. has earned well deserved heaps of praise for his work as Black Jazz Consortium. It’s perhaps no surprise that Laid006 is about as solid a record as you can get, throwing three distinctive and in vogue sounds on one wax slab.

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A new tune from John Roberts is always welcome, but “White” just might be his best yet. Deviating from the hushed Hammond organ tones found on many of his tunes, Roberts shapes his characteristically audacious drum programming to hit the dance floor running behind gorgeous synth leads. The sturdy yet fractured slate of hand drums, snare hits and springy claps always feels ripe for a perfect collapse, teasing dancers and DJs alike with fickle kick drum patterns. Gilded with tickling piano licks, suffused in evocative pads, the tune is imbued with a sense of longing and tension that give it much greater heft than many of its contemporaries and offers further proof that Roberts’ grip on his aesthetic only grows stronger as his profile continues to rise.

Someone had to have the unenviable task of following “White,” but luckily the two tracks on the B side form a formidable pair. Christopher Rau, whose name seems to pop up more and more these days, comes through with “Soulful,” a dreamy reduced tune that shifts from “White”‘s intensity to more late night vibes. Aside from a nibbling bass line and crisp hi-hats the track is mostly a droning pool of tones with various melodies sloshing to and fro, in and out of focus. Black Jazz Consortium provides the perfect bookend to the set, combining the rhythmic complexity of “White” and the slow burning trajectory of “Soulful” in his own signature style. “Applied Vibes” lures curious listeners inside with soft organ chords and more defined synth strings. Swirling spectral sounds whip around like leaves in a strong gust of wind, leaving the tune feeling lonely and hollow, yet ultimately quite fulfilling. The word “deep” may not have the descriptive power it once did, but like Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s famous definition of hardcore porn — “I know it when I see it” — Laid006 certainly fits my description for top notch deep house music.

hotstuff  on March 3, 2010 at 6:18 PM

I really love how often Little White Earbuds has a review which is logical and worth my time to read- they consistently make the “experts” at Resident advisor look like complete fucking morons, with their stupid/irrelevant ratings system and worthless insights. Thank you, LWE

Transire  on March 4, 2010 at 3:26 AM

The Black Jazz Consortium track is a pure bliss… I want my Laid 006 please ! :-)

Will Lynch  on March 4, 2010 at 6:02 AM

Pretty good EP but I don’t think it will have much staying power. I was excited when I first heard it, but haven’t put it on again for the past two weeks or so.

harrison  on March 9, 2010 at 9:55 PM

love every track

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