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M>O>S Deep returns, and does so keeping it stripped back to the bone. A straight up, two track, devastatingly simple split with Ma Spaventi providing the A side, while forward thinking label boss Aroy Dee takes care of the flip.

Wrecked feels like a journey into thick, mysterious fog, the sort of stuff that you can only find in a throbbing strobe lit basement or the paranoid streets of Victorian London. The track itself is a slowed down, chugging number that creeps along. It uses the most basic of warm electronic percussion cutting through an ever changing, sawing and to be quite honest, massive as hell bass line. This keeps your attention, while strange sounds seem to drift in an out as The Italian audio engineer applies his knowledge and subtly works the synth. Simple manipulations and pattern sequences are the order of the day. The skill lies in how little there is, but how full the track seems. As a producer Marco Antonio Spaventi has had releases as part of Crystal Maze, and as one third of R.A.G. Tight crisp quality all the way, and so it should be, because the good Doctor is Head Lecturer in Electronic Music Production at Amsterdam’s SAE institute as well as spending time lending his hand to the mastering duties for M>O>S. With these skills, you can be left in no doubt of the level of quality put across in this record. Quite simply, there are no fripperies and tricks – just treatment with a drum machine and synth by an extremely competent Doctor.

Floyd on the flip shows why Aroy Dee runs a successful label. With soft and full bell tones and a warm analogue bass, we are taken along by pads, strings and muted choir like tones that play suggestively like the enchanting susurus of a stream. Drum hits slide us along to giving more movement and subtle funk, with a comfortable warmth like some kind of warm tide washing the shore, not smashing it as if powered by a storm, but certainly not lapping gently. These claps and snares aren’t the least bit full of cold reverb and the machines used are unimportant here, the importance is how this music sounds, and to me its like a dream. We’ve been transported to somewhere else, somewhere comfortable and magical in the way it envelopes you. As with “Wrecked? it surrounds us with sound, but this is snug with the comforting warmth of familiarity and security that is full of emotions that we love and remember. Like any visions of the mind, this one is different to the others that have come before, despite said familiarity. Aroy Dee has a certain sound and it comes through again in this. There is a comfort that seems to be derived from the way that he manages to juxtapose the familiar with the new, in essence giving you more of his sound and allowing you to share in his dream.

Ma Spaventi – Wrecked

Aroy Dee – Floyd

 

Tracking down good music can be done in so many ways. Sometimes its a long search after reading through pages of info, sometimes its identifying a track in a mix and working it out from there (more research) sometimes its just by chance. Just by chance is a good one because that alone can come in numerous ways, including recommendations. The Cushion is one such example, recommended to me by a friend in Chicago and released on Fresh Meat Records, the label run by her fellow Chicagoans, Nathan Drew Larsen and Mazi Namvar (Audio Soul Project). The Cushion (Scott Brandon) makes music that reflects where he’s at. Growing up in Ann Arbor, just West of Detroit he moved along Interstate 94 to Chicago several years ago taking influences with him. Having also recorded as The Downtown Division, his previous releases have appeared on Moodgadget and Ghostly International.

This release kicks off with “My Heroes Are Your Heroes’ Heroes? a track that can’t help but make you want to move. Bringing the funk using some big, hollow, wood sounding organ tones for the bass, Scott immediately finds the groove. At no point does the track become static or seem to repeat, giving it a wonderfully rounded organic feel. It doesn’t sound forced, but very natural and hits a part of the mind just as it hits the body and maintains the all important dance floor bump. Nice solid kicks with claps and snares expertly reverberated and decayed in the right places underpinning the whole thing, giving elements of space where he teases us with bass tones and vocal samples, before piling on more groove and breaking us back down again. The whole thing is like some kind of a trip, leaving you to wonder where the hell you’ve just been and wanting some more of it. Time seems to just stand still and there is no urgency to the piece just a very skillfully produced piece of music that hits the spot directly, leaving you in no doubt at all that Scot knows exactly what response he wants to extract from you, and has the tenacity get it.

The Audio Soul edit cuts the track as edits should. With the unplanned loss of the unmixed audio tracks, Mazi was left with no option but to chop up the original and provide us with an edit that takes on some old school ethics by nature of its limitations. Personally I find that the imposition of limitations is when you get the best results. This doesn’t tease us in the same way as the original, but lays down some solid drum work and keeps it at that, until he’s prepared to let you have what you want, at which point Mazi gives you the cut at full force.

The title “Chi’Troit? says it all. Kicking off with percussion in the form of shakers and congas, with occasional agogo for good measure, a gradual layer of shimmering and atmospheric pads materialises into existence out of the decays and reverbs that slide away from said Latin soundset. The Lush pads themselves give way to tougher, chunky slabs of bass and a basic but undeniably solid rhythm. This one has poke and focus, stripped right back with intermittent modulation of synth tones that try to drag your mind away from the groove in hand to somewhere more cerebral. Again Scott is in control and makes you do exactly as he wants, one minute its some serious heads down dance music, the next you’re floating away.

The release just feels tight and original and the only comparison I can really make is to Metro Area in terms of the detail and musicality that Scott Brandon imparts. However this is deeper and tougher making Metro Area feel like as walk in the park. I’ve literally lost a number of hours within this music and not noticed until later. Its not just me who is blown away either, a quick look at Fresh Meat’s soundcloud page shows that this release is getting support from a range of people, including Laurent Garnier, Tony Humphries, Slam and Murray Richardson, to name but a few. The materialistic types out there may be disappointed to learn this is only available as a download from Beatport, but the simple fact is that good music does get released on mp3 alone. The TEAC Life is one such example and at the end of the day good music is good music, which is undoubtedly what The Cushion delivers.

FMR46 – 1. The Cushion “My Heroes Are Your Heroes’ Heroes”

FMR46 – 3. The Cushion “Chi’Troit”

You can check out more of what Fresh Meat Records are up to by following the hotlink to their website