When talking about French dance music it would be hard to minimize the importance of Pépé Bradock. The Frenchman is responsible for hit after hit including one of dance music’s seminal records, which at 14 years old still holds a place on many dancefloors – “Deep Burnt”. Moving beyond that, he’s proven himself more than capable of leaving the world of sample based anthems behind to create records more suitable for the darker areas of a club à la “4”. Whichever variation you prefer, the fact is that he’s built up a nearly immaculate discography. With so much skin in the game you’d think he would be approaching burnout levels, however in the last couple of years re-issues and new records seem to have kept the fire going. This month he’s added one more record to his back catalog with “Acid Test 07” on Acid Test, a sub label of LA’s Absurd Recordings. After the label had released two of last year’s hotly tipped LPs, Recondite’s “On Acid” & Tin Man’s “Neo Neo Acid”, our expectations were high and he did not disappoint.
In line with the label’s previous releases, these two cuts are centered on slinky acidic basslines that are dumped on top of the mix and subsequently melt over the kicks and samples in a dizzying display of production chops. The A-side “Lifting Weights” falls into the darker portion of Bradock’s work. As he rides a tortured bassline (that lesser producers would be content with making the center of the track) he cautiously brings in the necessary TB-303 lines, which he twists and bends until all other sounds register as arbitrary background noise. Within the track’s seven minutes he puts most artists working with 303s to shame by making a piece of music that not only stands head and shoulders above 90 percent of other productions, but will likely have the heads getting down with those just looking for a noisy good time. After being sufficiently winded from “Lifting Weights”, he finishes the two-tracker with “Mujeres Nerviosas”, which brings a pinch of classic Bradock into the mix with an occasional tangent into sampled chords. The bulk of the nine minutes is spent tweaking two octaves of classic acid sounds – nothing special there, but the atmosphere he brings with it and the on-point arrangement makes all the difference. It’s the sort of track we’d play toward the end of a night to slowly ease people into the final stretch. It’s the perfect counterpart to the brutal sonic warfare of “Lifting Weights” – an eerie calm before who knows what. These are two primal cuts of acid house that DJs should reach for without hesitation. “Acid Test 07” most definitely gets a π-tip, and if you see this in the shops and pass on it then shame on you.
Pépé Bradock’s Acid Test 07 is available for pre-order.