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White Noise: Octo Octa – Let Me See You EP

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Octo Octa – Let Me See You EP

Not Not Fun’s relatively new dance label 100% Silk hasn’t been around that long, but has already garnered an impressive track record. Ital’s Culture Clubs single earlier this year is a firm White Noise 2011 favourite, and with this new release this label is really showing it has legs, offering a great cross-section of today’s dance scene as well as an interesting nod towards the future. The tracks here are beautifully produced, offering a wealth of detail and a real warmth combined to excellent effect with the powerful beats and superb sampling that are guaranteed to get anyone moving.

Although I’m full of praise for this release, there are two tracks here that stand head and shoulders above the rest. Opener and title track Let Me See You fuses an expertly looped vocal line with old school hip hop beats, feel good rave keys and a cascading digital synth line. The layers are superbly mixed but where the track really triumphs is in its construction, every breakdown and edit is perfectly placed to get people moving while keeping the sound continually fresh and interesting. The combination of cutting edge vocal sampling, drawing footwork comparisons, with older housey keys and a decidedly crunchy beat shows a deep understanding of fusing styles to craft something satisfying and endlessly exuberant. The other cut on here that really deserves credit heaped upon it is the third, I’m Trying. This track is far more in tune with today’s bass scene, discarding big drops in favour of fine-tuned micro edits and restrained layering. The sample of Amerie’s One Thing courts submerged synths and a more relaxed beat, but as the track proceeds and the sample becomes choppier the percussive field is widened, with syncopated clicks and beats duelling a simple three-note synth line that anchors the sound. When it all comes together over sampled breakbeats (primarily from Gaz’s Sing Sing) at the end, the palpable tension between the disparate elements adds to the glorious whole.

That’s not to say the other two tracks are unremarkable, but they’re up against strong competition for the listener’s ears. The second cut, High Reflection, is a little weaker than the others, with deep bassy beats and a resonant synthline underlying samples of what sound like exhalations. However it’s still quite a good track, the dreamy synth line that flits over the dark soundscape is a particularly nice touch, as is the sampled cry that recurs more frequently towards the end. Closer Coldwaves is darker still and the clear dark horse of the bunch, with a stripped 4/4 beat, skittering percussion and icy synths all reigned over by a fantastic stretch of pitch-shifting.  It’s a grower but after a few listens Coldwaves starts to sound like a 4am classic.

Three out of four of these tracks are fantastic, on or off the dancefloor, which is more than can be said for most dance EPs hitting the shelves at the moment. If you’re listening at home there’s a world of detail and influence to unravel, and if you’re looking to mix there are a couple of tracks on here which should make you very, very excited. What more can you really ask for? After buying it the only thing left to do is wonder what brilliance 100% Silk can possibly have up their sleeve next.


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