DVS1 aka Zak Khutoretsky is back in full force for 2014 putting out more records than he has for quite some time, all this while managing an impressive release schedule on his own Hush imprint as well as the burgeoning Mistress Recordings. With an international touring schedule that would pummel the sanest of DJs as well as juggling life between Berlin and Minneapolis it seems clear why this is the first record Khutoretsky has had on Klockworks for 3 years!
Having DVS1 back on Klockworks is something people will be looking forward to, his previous outings on the label are arguable his best work, with 2011’s ‘Confused’ being his deepest and most immersive cut. This latest EP perhaps doesn’t quite live up to the expectation. It is clear that DVS1, who has immersed himself in two decades of dance culture, knows a thing or two about music and the Mistress label is a brilliantly curated example of his tastes in House and slower tempo’s; however his own sound has always remained singular and calculated. ‘Black Russian’ seems to be Khutoretsky’s first attempts to commit some of his broader tastes to record by lightening up the sound, granted still with the trademark DVS1 claps and sparse arrangement. It skips along in true DVS1 fashion and is put together in such a way that will undoubtedly move a dance floor, but the digital sound of the chords and the ‘paint by numbers’ musical progression leave a lot to be desired. Khutoretsky is capable of intricate and immersive melodies (see ‘Lost Myself’ from earlier this year) and actually simplifying his progressions is not a thing that suits.
‘Creeping’ on the other hand does exactly that. Creeps and weaves through simple and jarring melodies with a pounding back beat driving that subtle jacking quality we hear in a lot of his music. The press release reads that this is “the kind of track DJs rely on to keep momentum building with energy and elegance” and you certainly can’t argue with that logic, it is a tool of substantial force, with enough going on to render it a fantastic layer in the mix. Khutoretsky’s own skills behind the decks would certainly transform this into something mesmerising.
‘Spying’ continues in the same vein and brings an expert ambiguity in its mood, at some points sweet and others totally jarring, again the simplicity is deceptive and this kind of cunning is exactly what we expect from DVS1 at his best.
All in all it’s a solid record, but with an output as carefully placed as DVS1’s expectations run high. I feel a little bit of a stick in the mud for saying it but DVS1 is at his most electrifying and engaging when he sticks to what he does best.
Klockworks 13 is out on the 16th July, available from your local record shop.