In the – and let’s be honest here – overtly hype-ridden and at times insanely short attention span of the current dance music scene, a bit of subtlety goes a long way. Having issued just one ‘proper’ release on Pearson Sound, Pangaea and Ben UFO’s quality-driven Hessle Audio imprint, Elgato’s output harks back to the pre-social media age of dubplate’s, space and cohesion, where basic elements are honed to perfection, and tension is key.
2010’s ‘Tonight’ / ‘Blue’ was a deeply simple, yet effective introduction to a London talent formerly known as, for wont of a better phrase, a ‘DJs DJ’. A tight slab of black vinyl that was miles ahead of the pack in it’s melding of hypnotic bass frequencies, sharpened elements and dampened swing that lovers of house, techno, garage and dubstep took to without a second thought. The follow up package, bar two tracks included on the Hessle ‘116 & Rising’ compilation, doesn’t do much but endorse those same themes with extra weight and space, but engineered with a love and precision that many a rising ‘UK bass’ producer should take heed of.
A-side ‘Zone’ kicks things off with that monotone sub-bass that lovers of his debut will have had on rotation for the past 24 months. A pitched down vocal syllable, a two note bass melody, possibly footwork-influenced high end repetition and a cycling, insistent ride cymbal technique is all this track needs. Yet over its course the track remains, dropping down into a sub-breakdown at the five minute mark, yet managing to retain its status as a superb DJ tool for the adventurously-minded.
B-side ‘Luv Zombie’ is the winner here, with it’s looped vocal refrain of “I’m addicted – to you” running throughout the track and exemplifying Elgato’s knack for taking calm elements and stretching them throughout the course of eight minutes or so (‘Tonight’s standout was the one note synth that ran the course of the track).
The nearest we come to a drop is a single note bass pad, in which the ghosts of UK funky are heard, but not seen. Again, each different part oscillates mildy around the other, with dropped diva vocals and that same warm-yet-punchy bass anchoring the listener to the continually shifting edits and tweaked rhodes effect that smothers the track in a soul-led riddim.
It’s what these tracks don’t do that really kills it here. Each clocking in at over 8 minutes – with no real ‘drop’ or overt peak – cliched as it may be, but patience is a virtue with Elgato’s output. There’s a partial analogue warmth here that your average Logic user would be hard-pushed to recreate, yet these tracks have more hidden kinetics and downright depth than a host of others.
Six tracks across twenty-four months may not exactly be prolific, but when a producer creates such a distinct cypher as this, it’s hard to not position the release as one of the top three of 2012 so far. Despite appearances, there’s more than enough here to keep these ears satisfied for another two years. Exemplary.
‘Zone’ / ‘Love Zombie’ will be released via Hessle Audio on April 23.