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Chaos in the CBD – ‘Digital Harmony’ (Mule Musiq)

This month, established Kiwi exports Chaos in the CBD debut on Tokyo’s all-encompassing, House-centric label, Mule Musiq. The duo, comprised of brothers Ben and Louis Helliker-Hales, have proven their wide production versatility throughout their output, which boasts woozy, Soul-splattered House for Rhythm Section and Church Records, bass-heavy drum workouts for Clek Clek Boom and fuzzy analogue cuts for Hot Haus, to name a but a few. The Peckham-based pair have an uncanny ability to take a sound, uncover a formula that works for them and create something which is informed and respectful. Here, they provide results similar to the Jazz-inspired House exhibited on ‘Midnight in Peckham’ but instead with a realigned emphasis on rhythmic percussion, slow-burning chords, and shy melodies.

The title track showcases upfront shuffling drums and subtle vocals that work together to build a track with noticeable depth. There is no obvious lead and it’s not missed, the twisting excursion is more than enough. ‘Our Last Dance’ is the standout cut, supplying Jungle-infused sample work and a killer flute lead that succeeds in being anthemic, without taking centre-stage. ‘Return to Dust’ is a straight up number with light and breezy synths that satisfyingly intertwine with the low end. The immersive piano and trumpet licks on final track ‘Spheres’ separate it from the rest of the release, providing a welcome reprieve from the blurry-eyed pads of the rest.

This record is a sun-soaked spectacle oozing with ambience, crooning instrumental hooks, and boisterous drum work. It’s a sound that pines for lazy summer months spent lolling about in parks and beer gardens. In some respects, it’s a shame that the release date doesn’t coincide with the season it so clearly complements; we can only hope these guys are busy this summer.

‘Digital Harmony’ is out now digitally. Vinyl will be released January 15, which you can pre-order here.

Words: Nick Moore