EP Review: The Calm - Danny Daze

It's been going big guns out in the Miami WMC (or so says the Guardian) and it seems like Maceo Plex and his Ellum label are on an unstoppable roll. It was less than a month ago that I was praising his collaboration with Danny Daze (as Jupiter Jazz) and Ellum are back, this time with Danny doing a solo turn to drop some heavy tech on us.

The Calm feels a little bit like what I envisage a stroke to feel like - disconcertingly incomprehensible vocals, weird sound effects and a menacing atmosphere. It also shares a stroke's momentary sense that that you are staring into the abyss, as the track devolves into a moment of near silence midway through. It calls to mind Soulwax's absolutely ripper / mental remix of Justice's Phantom Pt. II, both in the way it will make crowds all over think the DJ's just quit and because it's also a bloody monster.

Dexter's remix is similarly amped, a whirling cacophony of bass and thick, chunky synths that turns the track into a serious dancefloor weapon but lacks a little of the original's slightly terrifying and unhinged sensibility.

Daze rounds out the EP with a second original track, I See You, which comes from a similar place as the original track but with a heavier focus on top-end and a little more subtlety.

For me none of these quite live up to the genius of the Booty Jazz EP but it's hard to deny their obligatory status within clubs this summer is pretty much guaranteed.

The Calm EP is out now through Ellum Audio, you can preview the EP via Soundcloud below:


Album Review: Hi-Hat Club (Volume Three): The Jazz Files - Dexter

Since its release back in 2001 (in the UK at least) the crazy cut up eccentricity of The Avalanches début album Since I Left You has been a firm favourite of BlackPlastic's every single summer. With each year that passes without a follow up album the likelihood of ever hearing more from the band wanes yet it still manages to be a hot topic and attracts plenty of speculation. The latest rumour is that we may indeed see a new album late this year. BlackPlastic will believe it when we actually hear it.

Dexter (or DJ Dexter if you prefer) has since officially left the band but is credited with having a signifcant influence on the band's sound.

And listening to Hi-Hat Club (Volume Three) that influence is obvious. Frankly if you are jonesing for a bit more Since I Left You then you will probably find a lot to like here. As the title suggests there is a jazz vibe that runs throughout the album, and the overall sound has a little more hip-hop and a bit less "kitchen sink", but ultimately for an Avalanches fan the sound is like slipping into an old comfy chair. The observant will even notice that some of the same old sample used by The Avalanches crop up here on 'Practice' but this time they feature an MCs' snippets alongside them, reflecting the different tone of Hi-Hat Club.

The ideas and samples come thick and fast - 'The Future' kicks off with an old radio programme opening before slamming down a hip-hop beat and some jazz keys. The magical pairing of these two elements is reminiscent of instrumental J Dilla but this being Dexter it all feels a little bit more 'turntablism' and less pure hip-hop.

Ultimately the album follows a similar pattern throughout - combinations of hip-hop beats and bassline, jazz samples and radio snippets fade in and out to create what feels like a continuous piece rather than a set of discrete songs.

Hi-Hat Club is not the eclectic party celebration album that Since I Left You was, its more focused nature meaning that it never scales the dizzy heights of that album. Yet it's still a compelling and interesting listen and a clear demonstration of Dexter's skill.

BP x

Hi-Hat Club (Volume Three): The Jazz Files is out now on Melting Pot Music, available from on LP and MP3 [affiliate links].