Friday, January 18, 2008

Sources - Matt Styles

Here's a review I did for RA but they decided they didn't want it. I forgot all about it until today. I've decided to leave it as I wrote it unedited. A bit of a dispute arose over my use of the word "reggae." As far as I'm concerned it may not be Bob Marley or Gregory Isaacs, but there's definitely a reggae feel to the title track, and what's dub if not reggae?

Title: Sources EP
Artist: Matthew Styles
Label: Horizontal
Cat Number:
Genre: Difficult to Pigeonhole House

A: Sources
B1: Double Exposure
B2: 520

Brtschirsch's 'Hook Up' and Villalobos' remix of Innersphere's 'Phunk' are two of the more recent examples of reggaes all-pervading influence and ability to reinvent itself, and now we have 'Sources' from Matthew Styles' new EP on Dinky's Horizontal label. Styles, Crosstown Rebels label boss, Damian Lazarus' right-hand man and dark horse dj here takes his first, tentative steps as a producer. This EP comes out at around the same time as 'We Said Nothing' on Diamonds and Pearls and hot on the heels of 'Lady Judy' on BPitch so are we witnessing a spurt of latent creativity ready to burn out just when we need it most, or the beginnings of a consistent run of critically acclaimed output?

'Sources' is a reggae tune, pure and simple. From the off-kilter gurgles that open it up and sound like they came straight from Lee Perry's lab to the simple but oh so effective bassline that gets overlaid by a more synthesised brittle top end. I feel that this particular twist on house could only have come out of London.However, it's not exactly the type of mash-up that the UK dance scene specialises in. It's much more subtle than that.

'Double Exposure' is more stripped down in its approach and relies on a galloping but restrained bassline to drive it. Nothing groundbreaking, but it's competent and well wrought. It's my least favourite of the three on offer but don't let that put you off. '520' is an altogether more interesting proposition with its sinister feel of isolation and sense of space. It too jogs along merrily but has a feeling probably similar to being lost in a void. It's vaguely Kafkaesque but not quite as oppressive.

An interesting debut from Mr Styles and one that, despite its influences, sounds original and refreshingly eccentric. One that you have to read between the lines.

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