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White Noise: Unknown Artist - Uniile 1

Monday, 29 June 2015

Unknown Artist - Uniile 1

Label: Uniile

It’s become a cliché in recent years for a new label to put out a limited-run record by an anonymous producer and sit back as the hype and discogs prices soar. There are many tiresome aspects to this, which feed into wider discussions of the double-edged sword of exclusivity and the questionable priorities of label-heads, yet frequently relatively little attention gets paid to the music. Too often labels are criticised of using anonymity and mystery to sell records rather than quality music. Thankfully the first release on French label Uniile is a clear exception. This EP of faded house tracks is, yes, by an anonymous producer (who doesn’t seem to be doing a great job of keeping in the shadows), but it's a gorgeous collection which transcends the vortex of hype and counter-hype which birthed it.

A Jazz Thing

Each tune here plays with a different flavour, but the general vibe is muted optimism, house coloured by loose-limbed percussion, jazzy melodies lit by a sunny haze. Opener What Up sets the tone as relatively gentle, with twinkling synths and smooth keys over ricocheting percussion which propels through strange squeaks and half-heard vocals. Une Ile is more robust, with a chugging rhythm section and croaked vocals which sound pleasantly dated, like an old photograph.

You Got The Funk brings in a more direct retro feel, with a sinuous bassline and filtered strings in fine disco style, but snapping snares and a light acid line keep it fresh. The most surprising cut on here is A Jazz Thing, which entirely abandons dance music for smoky saxophone licks and crisp live percussion, like a jazz group playing loops for mellow ravers. It’s an effective tune that could be put to deadly use in the mix of a bolder DJ. Uniile’s first release shows that if you’re going down the anonymity route but have the great music to back it up, the whole debate is rather besides the point. This EP kills, as simple as that.


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