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Maxmillion Dunbar : House Of Woo

Reviews, Promo`d, Test Pressing, Dr Rob, Maxmillion Dunbar, House Of Woo, RVNG Intl.

Maryland native Andrew Field-Pickering used to write an insightful and poetic column for The Fader on the subject of electronic music, his unquestionable knowledge and boundless enthusiasm enabling him to sell machine-made bleeps and beats as an experience as moving and miraculous as a religious epiphany or childbirth. He also runs the Future Times label, and makes his own music, as one half of Beautiful Swimmers and on his own under the alias Maxmillion Dunbar, and having tried his hand at various sub-genres – hip hop-inspired beats, cosmic disco grooves – seems to have settled, for now at least, on a trippy, transcendent hybrid of minimal techno and old school acid house. Second solo album House Of Woo, out February 19 via RVNG INTL, follows recent releases on imprints like Live At Robert Johnson and L.I.E.S. and posits Dunbar as one of the most forward-thinking producers currently operating out of the States, applying jazz and ambient sensibilities to his retro-futuristic boogie; tracks such as “Woo” (below), “Loving The Drift” and “Ice Room Graffiti” swirl around the insistent thump and hiss of the dancefloor, but elsewhere things are allowed to unfold more naturally, with jacking rhythms emerging out of sporadic bursts of shuffling percussion and melodies rising up from freeform synth improvisations. Heavy on ’90s chillout vibes – the LP’s most commonly recurring sounds are the kind of panpipe effects and glassy presets you might remember from classics like 808 State’s “Pacific State” or FSOL’s “Papua New Guinea” – HOW is a largely laid-back listen, but one whose restless energy and rhythmic tics (diversions into Latin dance, DC go-go and Jersey Swing, among others) ensure the listener’s mind and body are both more than adequately stimulated. Admittedly, praising Dunbar for managing to keep it interesting over the course of 50 minutes in an age where electronic artist albums are – on the whole – woefully inconsistent feels like a cop-out compared to the artist’s own beautifully-written reviews, but sometimes it’s best to just let the music speak for itself; you can stream the album right now over at NPR, and doing so is something I can’t recommend highly enough.


About foamhands

My name is Michael Dix; I'm a decade or so past being down with the kids, but to me new music never gets old. Apparently I like music that sounds like faulty kitchen appliances and ritual slaughter; really I just like what I like, whether that happens to be indie, pop, punk, hip hop, metal, electronica, Afrobeat or jazz. Follow me on Twitter @FoamHandsBlog to receive notifications of new posts and the occasional random brain-fart, and please share links wherever you can. Enjoy!

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