Joey Anderson – ‘Head Down Arms Buddha Position’ (TANSTAAFL Planets)

Particularly in the context of his slow-boiled, deconstructivist debut album earlier this year, you could be forgiven for thinking the title of Joey Anderson’s latest EP is cause for concern. Having made his name over the last couple of years with an eccentric brand of House so deep it often seemed to exist in the future perfect, it’s unclear whether listeners really needed three more long, meditative cuts of the type found on the New Jerseyan’s LP.

It is an unexpected delight, then, when the title track instantly blows these preconceptions away. A careening Techno gurgle reminiscent of early Underground Resistance springs forward instantly, with the sound war that erupts underneath it sounding like Space Invaders and a flight simulator being played side-by-side in an empty arcade. Up front as it seemingly is, the track takes shape without the listener really noticing: this is dance music by entryism. It seems to come in portions, never promising a whole or progression in the way that almost all music of this ilk does, but functioning perfectly on those traditional dancefloor terms all the same. Even if its style is out of character, the delivery is not.

The discomfiting ‘Tears Can’t Bring You Near’ does more to show up the shallowness of the ‘Deep’ House currently dominating British nightlife than a thousand Resident Advisor comments. Anderson’s distaste for snares is well-documented: at times his drum patterns make Bobby Gillespie’s minimalist playing in the Jesus and Mary Chain look indulgent. On ‘Tears’ though, the drums are central – even if they’re not front-and-centre. Their indifference to the track’s unplaceable mood makes it doubly strange, and twice as enticing.

For all his weirdness, Anderson is a producer deeply locked in to House music’s history. The music here sometimes come across like Theo Parrish’s precocious young child discovering his father’s vinyl collection and running amok: precise sounds oddly spliced together or played out seemingly at random, but resulting – inevitably, innately – in something brilliant. All of which is to say that this is an enjoyable, even fascinating EP. Its closing track, however, makes it an essential one. ‘You Gave Me Life Again’ is at once calm and exultant, embodying that point where House music becomes church music. The listener will find themselves rapt: locked in to the irresistible progression, slowly and surely ascending to heaven. This is the sort of B-side that will keep this record buzzing around on Discogs for years to come. Find it, and treasure it.

‘Head Down Arms Buddha Position’ is out 10th November on TANSTAAFL Planets. Pre-order it here.

Gabriel Everington

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