Review Summary: Can you dance? Can you laugh? xxxy needs you!
While House music has been watered down by the likes of Wolfgang Gartner, Joel Zimmerman and the now-departing trio SHM, underground the observing and expanding nature of the genre itself swells from below and protrudes itself over the layer that has been holding it in check for decades now. It comes, therefore, as no surprise that over the course of the bubbling pot that the struggling, rising up artists have been mashed together in, that genre-swapping and melding has become a common feature. You get the spicy and weird, the tangy and bizarre, the sweet and progressive, and sometimes you end up a simple mix that is just right to be served at any meal. Our friend Rupert Taylor, or xxxy, falls in between the third and fourth kind. Hailing from Manchester, and well-exposed to the steady English stream of the house (and its subservient) genre, Taylor understands the high and lows of the music. He knows that if one dwells too far left, then they can find themselves alienated from the club scene (see: DJ Shadow at the Mansion). On the other, if it’s too easy and plain, you get stapled to the wings of the now-falling Sonny Moore. With Got Me So
, Taylor blends in the right amount steady, rhythmic bounce, with the regular dash of extremity to keep all the kids satisfied.
With only 3 tracks, the magnitude seems just about right for the EP. The titular track takes things right into gear. The horns and bouncing percussion drive the beat forward, with the rhythmic waves keeping you on the floor, grooving and moving to the constant progression. However, it is the vocals that hold the track together. Manipulating the same sample into multiple variations, Taylor keeps a constant flow of energy present throughout the track. Even when the percussions sit down, the wave of synth and electronic anti-cacophony, highlighted by the voices steer the track correct. The banging of the drums lifts you up and you continue to dance away. Not too much experimentation, but enough of a kick to keep you high and moving.
The other two tracks work off of the same variety that is incorporated into the first track. Get Ready
, uses the same trick of vocal repetition to keep the track flowing. The percussion > smooth > percussion > smooth technique is applied effectively enough. For Studio 9
, Taylor switches it up a bit; the voices float in and out, but a structure and times syncopation causes the track to move from mere beat rhythmic dance to an elevated phase. The track doesn’t have too much in the way of structural changes (see: Burial) but infuses drum and bass into a melded blend to differentiate itself from ‘Generic House Track 21B’ (note: not a real song). Heavy bass keep sweep in an out, not overtly laying on the surface, but steadily keeping it afloat, simultaneously brushing past the ear to keep your feet moving.
Dance is the course of the day and of course Taylor doesn’t disappoint. Got Me So
has all the ingredients needed to become a successful club groove: the steady beat, the vocal sensation and the bouncy joy erupting on the dance floor. It also isn’t so simple that it might fade away into the night. The title song is the highest point and in comparison the other two fail to deliver the same buzz. But by no means are they weak tracks; they will easily put your grandma on the floor, shuckin’ n jivin’. xxxy delivers on another fun release, that doesn’t make you question all that you’ve ever known, but it might give you calluses the next day.