Andy Vaz: Endings & Beginnings

Andy Vaz: Sound_Variation 10-10

Certainly the title of Vaz's latest Persistencebit 12-inch suggests the close of one chapter and the start of another—not that the Background head's previous releases indicated any desperate need for makeover. But regardless of one's titular interpretation, Endings & Beginnings' tracks are undeniably three of Vaz's freshest to date.

“Endings & Beginnings (Your Mix)” kicks off the set with a boisterous, Motown-inflected bass line and swishing hi-hats that rapidly settle into a driving funk groove. Vaz builds tension by recycling a circular melody until it becomes a hypnotic mantra and by dropping out the groove at key moments and then building it back up again even more forcefully. The track's an energized and multi-flavoured mix of funk, house, and soul that finds Vaz in an extroverted mood. Equally relentless, “Two in One Solution” casts its propulsive gaze upon Chicago and Detroit house styles, with Vaz again exploiting drop-outs and sweetening the groove with creamy synth streams during the tune's eight-minute bounce. The B-side's entirely devoted to a ten-minute rendering of “Endings & Beginnings (My Mix)” that's slightly slower and a little looser than the original but equally funky. The tune retains its bass-heavy, peacock strut as Vaz explores various pathways, reviving the theme here and layering jazzy keyboard burble there.

There isn't much information accompanying 10-10, Vaz's latest Sound_Variation, well, variation, aside from the fact that it features remixes of 9-9 material and that the release presumably remains faithful to the series' guiding principle of using tone shifting, re-arranging, and other effects to recycle a limited pool of sounds. The big difference this time out is that Vaz associates, specifically Oliver Hacke, James Din A4 (Dennis Busch), Jeff Milligan, and Further Details (Paul Hammond), handle the variation duties. Egged on by plummeting fireworks showers, Hacke's dub-techno shuffler gathers force slowly as it wends its way through densely textured thickets while James Din A4's lightly skipping treatment cleverly loops samples of crowd noises, ricocheting percussion, rising chords, and a “Love, love, love” chorus into an engrossing whole. On a more laid-back tip, Milligan's and Further Details' tracks swing restrainedly in textbook Background fashion. Despite individuating differences, all four mixes generally hew to Vaz's minimal prototype.

April 2007