Andy Vaz: People Inside/-Outside

Andy Vaz: Sound_Variation 8-8

Despite his extensive discography, these latest 12-inch releases may very well be the most swinging material yet from Andy Vaz. The deep house epic “People Inside/-Outside” (the centerpiece of Vaz's Live In Detroit full-length) showcases a significantly more extroverted style than we're accustomed to hearing from the Background Records label head. After an insistent bass drum pulse, clanking rhythms, and phantom synth loops open the piece, voices entrancingly repeat the mantra-like “We outside, aren't supposed to feel connected with people inside” and “And those on death row.” An undulating aggregate of sounds—hi-hats, hand-claps, rumbling bass burble, voices— advances and recedes, underscored by the omnipresent pounding 4/4. The mix grows ever more intricate as Vaz adds layer upon layer but the incredible track's propulsiveness never flags. The B side impresses, too, though its material is clearly less epic than “People Inside/-Outside.” The percolating techno groover “Not Afraid (Night-Time Mix)” interlaces whirrs with a looping “funky bottom” sample and percussion accents; as before, elements swim in the mix, moving seamlessly from foreground to background and vice-versa. The third cut, “Off-Key,” blends a jacking Chicago House-influenced groove with jazz-flavoured keyboard accents.

The eighth edition in Vaz's Soundvariation colour series perpetuates the principal strategy of recycling a pool of sounds throughout an EP using tone shifting, re-arranging, and other effects. Yet while the concept is rooted in minimalism, the results are anything but and, while the principle itself might suggest clinical austerity, the four untitled tracks teem with sensual exuberance. Tailor-made for the club, the pieces mutate relentlessly while never sacrificing their groove core. The jazzy click-house opener slowly works up an intense hand-clapping broil of rippling crackle while the second presents a clubby slice of clattering machine-funk. A percussion-heavy, tech-house groove of swishing hi-hats, kling-klangs, and owly thrums opens side B, followed by a lumbering tribal pulse that includes a bulldozing bass sound so huge it could demolish city blocks. Needless to say, 8-8 represents another fine chapter in the ongoing Soundvariation story.

October 2005