Bohemian Groove is a collaboration between Canadians Jokers of The Scene and Ville Haimala, one half of Finnish act Renaissance Man. It’s an appropriate collaboration, as both operate on the fringes of the worlds they inhabit – more playful than most serious techno, yet with a sense of gravitas that lifts their work beyond the level of functional party music. It’s a perfect fit on Throne of Blood, a label more concerned with putting out simply great dance music than ticking boxes or meeting expectations.
“High Jinks” is a subtle affair, built around a simple, straightforward kick. Maracas and claps give way to a series of balmy yet ominous synth lines that swathe your ears in fearful bliss. Reminiscent of the Jokers’ work on “J0T5” and “Killing Jokes”, these trance-infuenced riffs, in a new world of 121bpm, take on a chilling new meaning, less euphoric than introspective. All of a sudden these are interrupted by a mischievous three-note bassline, one that plunges the track into disco territory. It’s a thrilling juxtaposition, justifying the track’s title entirely. Another build-and-release movement comes to pass, suggesting a world of transitional beauty in store in the hands of the right DJ – someone like Daniel Avery or Ewan Pearson. Hear what Rory Phillips did with it on his recent Beats in Space guest mix. The track comes remixed by Versatile Records boss Gilb’r, who adds clicks and pops, flipping its disco tendencies into a whirligig of irreverent party time. “Low Jinks” trades off a fizzing bassline and a chorus of crashes, whirrs and crackles. Unlike its less vertically challenged counterpart, its synths are celebratory and comforting, and they play off the cacophony of crashes masterfully. Modulating buzzes seem to land on different beats as they please, typifying the wicked nature of the Boho groovers.
Stream: Bohemian Groove – High Jinks/Low Jinks (Throne of Blood)
The real gem of the package, however, is a remix of “Low Jinks” from Portuguese duo Photonz. Layered acidic squelches collide with bongos and frenetic, fizzing hi-hats, while muffled toplines lead to an echoed, squawking theme, that heads to space and back. Those comforting synths of the original become searingly foreboding, unaware of where to go next, terror on the dancefloor the only certain outcome. There’s a reprieve in the form of another “Low Jinks” remix, this one from Meant Records co-founder Remain. Closer to the original in mood and tempo, it takes the crashing percussion and plays it off a more mobile bassline, lending the track an almost jaunty feel. It crashes to its close and with it the EP. If the results of this collaboration are less bombastic or barnstorming than one might have anticipated, it shows the depths of character previously unexpected from such sources. If it turns a few heads along the way, all the better. Let’s hope they get together again some time.
Bohemian Groove – High Jinks/Low Jinks is out on Throne of Blood on January 21 (Vinyl) and January 28 (digital)