“No one had a bad dream, it was all very good”. So ends the title track on the “Rooted” EP from newcomer Locked Groove, with eleven words that sum up the dark yet uplifting theme threaded through the latest release on Hotflush Recordings. After a magnificent year that saw stellar releases from Sigha, George Fitzgerald, Joy O and of course label boss Scuba to name but a few, they are showing that 2012 will be no different with this stunning release. As the name suggests, this young Belgian producer crafts slow-burning house and techno that jams hard but is bursting with soul.
Title track “Rooted” comes to life with a lush synth line that could be lifted from a vintage Quincy/MJ collaboration, before building and building with strains of ambient that come up against chugging acid basslines. This nine-minute track is one of those epic numbers that you can imagine hearing at sunset parties and in sweaty late-night raves throughout the year. “Drowning”, which featured in Scuba’s DJ-KiCKs mix, alternates between hard-knock techno bass drums and housier kicks. A repeated droning synth-line shifts and mutates into a less menacing sequence that almost approaches what one might call a riff. The hard edges of this track show that Locked Groove is as comfortable assembling dark techno as he is with brighter sounds.
“Change” drifts in at a much slower 115bpm, as piano sounds dance over shuffling layers of gorgeous percussion. A depitched voice intones that “Making music is what I do / I never did this because it was something fun / I do this because this is what I do“, a clear indication that this young man is in this game because of a compulsion, rather than any fleeting desire to appeal to the in crowd. With this and a release in the pipeline on Tiga’s Turbo label, the future is bright for Locked Groove.
Locked Groove – Rooted EP is out on Hotflush on January 16, 2012.