tom demac

Tom Demac – ‘Dampening Deaf Ears’ EP (Hypercolour)

From under the radar Tom Demac has been putting out a steady stream of releases on a variety of labels for a good number of years, his half-muffled house and techno vibe sitting in the haze between easily danceable club music and laid back grooves with plenty of rhythm. Working that middle ground may have cost him some attention previously, but recently his hard work and continuous output have earned him growing recognition.

He now returns to one of his favoured labels Hypercolour with ‘Dampening Deaf Ears’, an EP designed to win you over with its style and subtle funk. Opener ‘Jackapella Bowles’ has a vibrant, scatting bounce about it that draws you in with its playful arrangement of beats and samples. Light, funky and a guaranteed head nodder, it’s in no rush to move serenely from phase to phase, using breathy tones, clapping percussion and deeper notes to make a full texture that will make you smile.

The star of the show is undoubtedly ‘Dirty Honey’, an inspired reworking of ODB’s classic ‘Got Your Money’ that lit up radios and parties everywhere back in ‘99, introducing a young Kelis along the way. He uses the famous hook (originally laid down by The Neptunes) to make the sexiest of basslines, adding a crisply snapping beat to give it just the right amount of kick. From there it’s just a matter of playing with the vocals as the track builds; Kelis’s catchy chorus is used sparingly without leaving you wanting while snippets of ODB make up the backing.

‘Trying Is Right By Me’ takes a more industrial beat and tries to marry it with distorted vocals, but while at some stages it feels like a nicely compact tune that kicks forward well, at others the vocals start to drone and the whole thing lacks the charm of the previous tracks. The Shenoda remix readdresses the balance somewhat, making a sparser version that places more emphasis on its solid punching beat, which then creates more space for the other elements when its taken away. Finishing off with a dose of retro is ‘Drooling Donna’, which takes some 70’s funk and works it over a soft but firm 4×4, a mini vocal breakdown dropping in here and there for some added fun.

‘Dampening Deaf Ears’ is an interesting mixture from Demac, but while some tracks may divide opinion, stick on ‘Dirty Honey’ and everyone will be buzzing.

Robert McCorquodale

The ‘Dampening Deaf Ears’ EP will be released via Hypercolour in May.