Various Artists, Earth Tones 5

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[Soul People Music]


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Is any deep-house compilation as reliable as an Earth Tones? Soul People Music boss Fred P. curates one of these EPs every year, but in 2013 we’re being treated to two. Big names like Move D and Levon Vincent have delivered on past editions, but so have lesser knowns. Leonid Nevermind and Steve Oh, for example, have provided tracks of equal caliber. Basically, Earth Tones has a can’t-miss pedigree: you’re guaranteed at least one track by an esteemed artist, and get the chance to check some more low-key names in the process.

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That said, the mood on these records can be pretty uniform, and this is apparent on its fifth edition. All four tracks deal in the kind of nocturnal, ambient house one expects from a Fred P. project, and all are largely about setting a theme and letting the rhythm subtly lock in. On “The Spark,” Brendon Moeller’s Beat Pharmacy delivers a zagging bass line to offset pleasant, somehow Dutch-sounding pads (if Detroit can be a signifier, so can the Netherlands — think The Connection Machine or moody Delsin moments). Esther Duijn, meanwhile, pairs hollowed out drums with a wrenching organ line (think any number of Fred P.’s tri-state area associates) and soft, intermittent pads on “Eavalon Rises.” Lapien’s “Indifference” is spookier, as its thick, mysterious pads hover above a patient bass line, brush-like hi-hats, and rattling rimshots. Finally, Fred P. himself delivers the most prominent rhythm section here, defining “Purple” with a kind of beatdown arrangement and lurching bass, which underpin a more subtle sense of ambience. Again, the differences between these tracks are minor, and none is distinctive or anthemic enough to top the charts. Followers of the series probably don’t care much about that, though. All in all, this EP is another fine installment of comfortably woozy, borderline-seductive deep house.

BLAKTONY  on November 23, 2013 at 5:21 AM

diggin’ the atmosphere on this one/well chilled.

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