With a couple of releases on Local Action already under his belt, NTS Manchester’s Finn has launched his own label, 2 B REAL (which we’ve been reliably informed is named after this DJ Deeon classic). Setting out with the sole purpose of creating a platform for fun dance records, he’s done just that with “Late At Night”/”Lightwork” feat. Fox. Comprised of two tracks then an edit of one and an instrumental of the other, the release doesn’t mess around.
An ode to Jersey and ghettotech, “Late At Night (Keypad Mix)” is some straight up club business. It’s a restless, peak time thumper/steamer/heater that’s as likely to get you sweating on the floor as it is to worm its way into your head while you’re cooking your tea. Finn enlists MC Fox, a familiar face on Truants’ pages, for “Lightwork”, which is a less hyped-up joint but no less suited to a party. Fox’s vocal ties in Finn’s UK club grounding with the distinct American flavour he’s projecting in this release. That coalescence is even more evident on the “Do Not Disturb Mix” of “Late At Night”, the meaner, bassier sibling with shades of grime lurking underneath. For good measure, he’s also put in a Fox-less version of “Lightwork” to round the release off. Definitely one to cop and a label to keep an eye on going forward.
Having released two 12″s on Portuguese label Groovement, Japanese producer Sai marks new territory with his Blend Architect alias. Having previously excelled in bright and emotive house that’s steeped in prog sensibilities, this new project sees him take those tropes into the darker world of techno. The EP’s title is Uncloud, and that is what the four tracks do, denoted simply by number. The opener is a beautiful haze of ambient wash, a light pulse giving a hint of urgency. Its A-side counterpart drives forth with a grinding, atonal bass, building towards a swirling synth cyclone – it feels like lush prog house that trips and shuffles forward to clear skies, drifting away listlessly as it reaches its close. Flipping over, things are darker, driven by a nervous energy rather than melody. “Cloud 2.1” feels like droning techno, snarling lines stretched to infinity over unbroken percussion. The key element of note is a stirring ride cymbal line, which jumps out from every other perfectly balanced component. Then “2.2”, in closing, comes off like a darker, hazier take on Fit Siegel & Tim “Love” Lee’s “Living Is Serious Business”: a slight, jerking synth pattern breaking up bars and counterbalancing the track’s general snarl. While elements feel reminiscent of his previous work, it’s a stirring debut that holds promise for Blend Architect’s new approach.
Words by Antoin Lindsay and Aidan Hanratty.