As one third of blog/label/collective Transmission Collective, Wolf Cub has been making waves as of late by working within the throwback style of house music that appears to be all the rage at the moment. As much as we’d like to disparage such a blatantly self-serving trend, artists like Wolf Cub, Bicep and Ejeca are the logical retort to the overwhelmingly aggressive brand of brostep and electro that has invaded the minds of North American teenagers in recent years. Formerly universal ideals like “establishing a groove”, or “funk” (outlandish, we know) have become secondhand to immediate satisfaction and tactless bombast. We don’t need to tell you this of course, but the idea that a whole generation has grown up with this as a touchstone for what dance music should sound like is depressing as hell. With the “Love High” EP, Wolf Cub puts himself firmly in the counter-current and while the Leeds-based producer might not introduce any brand new ideas, the fact that he’s meticulously improving upon tried and true sounds means that he’s playing an important role in the contemporary house music landscape.
The backbone of the “Love High” EP is quite simple: shuffling percussion, organ stabs, warm synth pads and diva vocals. However, the results are anything but ordinary. What differentiates Wolf Cub from the crowd of likeminded producers is his willingness to allow the funkiest elements of his music to drive the entirety of the mix. The kick drum is present, the vocals ring out and the euphoria-inducing organ plays, but the bassline is always the driving force. On “I’m Gone”, the bass tunnels its way through the other elements, but is always present and always prescient to the melodic direction the song takes. The bass in “What You Need” is more distinct, but almost sounds more reserved than the rest of the EP. The song is the bedroom anthem of the release, not through any lyrical declaration, but in its innate sensuality, pinpointed by the funky bassline. The EP’s closer “Kerouac” is the stomper of the release, eschewing the carefully constructed smoothness of the rest of the EP for a more overt stab at peak time madness. It’s difficult to predict exactly where Wolf Cub will take his sound on future releases, but “Love High” is an impressive outing for such an untested producer. While the endpoint of the throwback house trend appears to be near, Wolf Cub has the talent and attention to transcend the sound he’s eloquently put forth on “Love High”.
Stream: Wolf Cub – Love High (Transmission Collective)
Wolf Cub’s Love High EP is available now on Transmission Audio Recordings.