I first came across Matt Whitehead, as I’m sure a lot of people did, during the Bloc Weekender of 2010. After a few days of solid partying, we walked around Bloc like a band of zombie red coats… looking for the next act to avoid the always enevitable compound of depression and anxiety. Entering Jak Bloc we rolled in at just the right moment… Matt Whitehead starting his set immediately shook off all of our worries and absolutely brought the house down with a live set as highly charged as a static heavy Butlins arcade carpet.

Having had over 1500 hits since, the recording of this now legendary set has helped the world realise what a talent he is. In 2009 Matt found a home on the UK’s Rebel Intelligence label, releasing ‘Beat the Heat’ then following this up with the superb ‘Raw Deal’ in 2010. Now, in 2011, Mr Whitehead and Rebel Intelligence give us ‘Obsession EP’.

The EP’s opener, ‘Good Fun’ starts with a solid 909 groove that crashes into a recognisable bassline, the programming rolls and rolls and hits you with serious house stabs. All of a sudden I’m driving down the M25, its August ’88 and the motorcade is gonna get there and party all night. A homage to Inner City, this track has everything and more. Squelchy acid bass lines, classic synth pads, solid as fuck 909 beats and trade mark spin backs… man… this track is warehouse through and through.

‘Obsession’, the EP’s name sake is a deep Chicago work out. A lovely fingers-esque elastic bass and panicked drums give way to deep and sweeping pads. This track resonates well with that feeling right at the back of my soul, that feeling of waking up at 5am on a couch in the corner, there are only a few people left down in the basement but they are hypnotised and mesmerised by this deceivingly deep jack.

The flip side starts with ‘Glory Days’, another party bumper. 909 meets 303… 10 seconds in and my fist is already pumping. Sweet string chords smooth over the 909 then fall into excited bell chimes that play delicately inbetween some serious jack! This room shaker has all the sounds to get you moving your fists and feet.

Finishing this trip off, ‘City Limits’ is full bodied, round sounding and altogether delicate. Phased out snare hits swish their way through a heavy low end and heavenly pads sweep in and out over the top. Breaking down and building itself back up again, this is another for those late night drives, passed the city limits, through border control and on…

Being a fan of Matt Whitehead I was excited about this EP before I heard it. After sitting down and solidly listening (about 4 times over), Ive realised that Matt’s three releases have been a steady and solid progression of sounds and ideas with the ‘Obsession EP’ a pinnacle of this.

This is the best release I’ve heard all year, and there’s not much time left to take it off the top spot.

Obsession E.P (available on vinyl from December 5th) by Matt Whitehead

Rebel Intelligence

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