Following releases on the likes of Naked Lunch and Idle Hands, Toronto native Kevin McPhee continues the upkeep on his promising output with a foray into solid house. Having initially built up a reputation of straddling the lines between dubstep, techno and the aforementioned genre, the ‘Blue Organ’ EP sees him focusing on an increasingly mid-range tempo, punctuated with a strong analogue aesthetic and a spacious, distant outlook. No surprises then that house purveyors Hypercolour are the latest outfit to feature McPhee, who continues their rich vein of versatility and constant yet subtle shifts in direction. The Canadian follows a string of successful ventures by the label from the likes of Maya Jane Coles and Christopher Rau & Tilman Tausendfreund.
EP opener ‘I Will’ showcases the slight shift in perspective that McPhee culminates throughout. It’s a slow-building swinger, emotive vocal samples undercut with crisp, shuffling percussion. Said vocal cuts are a notable aspect not
just in ‘I Will’ but throughout Blue Organ, McPhee harnessing a level of sentiment and legitimacy that not only showcases his production prowess but also ensures that he doesn’t fall into the tacked-on trap that blights other works. The call and response technique goes some way to demonstrate this, reaching a high-point in ‘Your Side’, where the interplay between male and female cuts is delicate, refined and cautiously romantic.
‘Hang My Head’ takes a grittier, grainier direction; punchier grooves are packed into the beat, superseded by an acid washed hook that borders on the sordid. It strolls, a confident track that provides a certain bite to the EP. It does well to break up Blue Organ’s more spacious, insular moments that present its elegance. There’s a return to the introspective through ‘Your Side’, the aforementioned vocal cuts creating a euphoria-tinged perspective through the fragile mid-range tempo, kept alive by the solidity of the kick.
Title track ‘Blue Organ’ is a fitting swansong, the contemplative nature of the record coming to a fore most aptly through the murky, distant synths and thoughtful piano round-off. The EP feels fluid and well rounded, Kevin McPhee’s delicate but assured production style creating an understated, accomplished set of tracks. It’s a welcome addition to Hypercolour’s catalogue, and continues the steady rise of this pensive producer.
‘Blue Organ’ will be released through Hypercolour on November 21.