Arp 101 may be ‘Eglo’s secret weapon’ (according to master blogger Martin Clark over at Pitchfork), but the producer himself has a not-so-secret-weapon too; whatever synth it is that makes those warm, gnarled, utterly unpredictable arpeggios. Projects whose name and chief sonic element are one and the same usually feel gimmicky, two dimensional and doomed to be forgotten. Not so here. Since his debut release on Eglo earlier this year 101 has, if anything, refined his mission statement yet further – ideas are more focussed, and both these tracks are seriously primed for dancefloor action, cranking up the energy from the spacious boogie workouts of EGLO9. ‘AC!D 2’ has one of those low slung grooves that swaggers so hard it takes ten seconds or so to work out what tempo you’re at. Once you’re there, though, the leaping, yammering oscillators will pull your limbs every which way. Better get yourself a serious bizniz office recliner before you try chair dancing to this one.
‘Flush’ pushes up into housier territory at 130bpm and is, for my money, the better of the two. It’s certainly got the most dancefloor bombast, dropping chunks of burbling, polyrhythmic arp over its refracted 2-step template before breaking down into – you guessed it – yet more disjointed arpeggios at the midway point. The track’s dubstep shuffle and lavish synth work may well earn comparisons with the likes of Joker, but it’s lacking the towering melodies and digital sheen which gives the so-called ‘purple sound’ its r’n’b credentials.
Instead, Mr. 101 opts for a warmth and punch that suggests racks of analogue gear and a deft hand on the knobs (we’d hardly expect anything less from an Eglo associate); a smart move which sets this new producer apart from many of his contemporaries.
Eglo’s secret weapon indeed – though not likely to remain secret for much longer. Having landed in the scene with such a focussed sound – crisp, loose drumwork and those all important arps – is likely to work in 101’s favour, given the bandwagoning that seems many producers’ modus operandi. This writer is hoping that further releases take him yet closer to the centre of the dancefloor. Who knows what damage he could cause.
Words // Angus Finlayson