Uncanny Valley #001 review of RA

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The first release from Dresden’s Uncanny Valley label is a showcase of four local talents of varying renown—Break SL and Jacob Korn are the best known, Cuthead and Thomas Frohlich less so—who all bring their own take on moody, downbeat house. With all four cuts running between 110 and 120 BPM, heavy on acoustic samples and classic drum machines, it’s a familiar sound in contemporary house, but all four cuts are really rather excellent.

For all the similarity in vibe, each track has its own signature. Frolich’s is the most upbeat, pushed forward by a hot drum skip and phased chords recalling vintage Carl Craig; the only thing holding it back is an extended voiceover in the breakdown that borrows a little too nakedly from Moodymann. (The scene is flooded with these kinds of passages lately, and the generic approach to cut-and-pasted „soul“ only cheapens the track.)

Far from the springy, synth-heavy work of his singles for Dolly and Left of the Dial, Jacob Korn’s „Slamduck“ moves like it’s walking underwater, with murky chords pulsing beneath splashes of percussion and short snippets of muted horns. The form is familiar, but the sound of the thing—from the chest-massaging bass to the unexpectedly cheery, jazzy touches—is totally captivating. Clearly, Korn isn’t about to get bogged down in any one style.

Cuthead’s „Acceptable Mustache Style“ has not only the EP’s best title but also perhaps its most forceful cut, despite the 116 or so BPM. It wouldn’t sound out of place on Smallville or MCDE, built as it is around minor-key piano chords, filtered and delayed, and a spare but effective bassline. Gently jacking drum programming makes it seem faster than it is, and a touch of wildpitch strings helps ignite the slow-burning coals at its climax.

Philpot’s Break SL turns in the most downtempo track here, a lumbering 110-BPM bruiser that shuffles like a boxer in his final round—stars in his eyes and a pit in his stomach. Staccato cowbells cut against low, woozy chords, while clean, dry drum machines march determinedly forward. It’s a great way to round out the EP, putting a whole new spin on familiar tropes.

Words / Philip Sherburne
[soundcloud url=“http://soundcloud.com/uncanny-valley-dresden/uncanny-valley-001-02-jacob-korn-slamduck“]
more info here: www.uncannyvalley.de

Some feedback:

Martyn: what a great EP :) really like the Jacob Korn track and the Thomas Frohlich one.. but the b-side is great too!! .. lemme know when these hit the shops cos would love to pick up a vinyl copy of it..

Ra.H (Morphine Records): The whole EP is top quality! All 4 tracks are lovely, especially the Jacob Korn Jazzy cuts and breaks.. lovely!
Break SL’s Low Light is a darkness drifter. A great EP, definitely one to have in your bag…
Full Support!

Sven Tasnadi: my favorite is the track from break sl, very good stuff.

XDB (Metrolux Music): break sl´s low light will be played until death – killer tune and excellent label start – 4 winner cuts!!!

Jan Krüger (Hello?Repeat): WOW WOW WOW
this is no barking but my exitement for this amazing record! Break SL & Jacob Korn are my favourites with their deepness and instantly won my heart!!! I hope for more to come and thanks for sending over the promo!

Mano Le Tough (Internasjonal): AMAZING RECORD! LOVE ALL FOUR TRACKS… looking forward to more stuff from the dresden massive!!!

Taron Trekka (Freude Am Tanzen): die platte habe ich mir schon bei clone angehört. bombe, was bei euch geht. alle stücke sind super. vielen dank. ich werde mir die platte kaufen. mp3s spielen wir gar nicht :-)
liebe grüße nach dresden aus dem viel zu heißen jena,

Basic Soul Unit: Thanks guys, top notch deep rollers. Nice package all around, support for sure!

Quarion (Drumpoet Community): I think my favourite track is “Get Us” with it’s Mood II Swing vibe… very promising debut from a very promising label!

My Cousin Roy (Wurst): Thanks guys, very much appreciate the promo. B-side wins for me – really feelin’ the Cuthead and Break SL tracks. I typically love Jacob Korn’s work but not so crazy about this one. Perhaps it will grow on me.

DPlay (Mildpitch): 5/5…one of my favorite 12″ this year…all tracks have a very special “DYNAMO” house vibe for me…sachsen shit!

Baaz: Amazing start! Very sophisticated deep house productions. Looking forward to to the next records! Will play for sure…