Adhering To The Shell EP
James Kumo: Stagger EP
Brazilian DJ-producer Paul Eg, a seasoned vet whose career began in 1996 and who founded his Ethnik Groove imprint in Brazil in 2004 (Eg stands for Ethnik Groove, incidentally), builds on the impression made by last year's Rebuilt album with Adhering To The Shell, a four-track set featuring two originals and remixes by Mihalis Safras and Maurizio Vitiello. The slow-building title track works a series of keyboard, vocal, and percussive stabs into a dubbed-out affair that while deep enough still surprises in hewing to such a controlled and low-key level. Vitiello, of a seeming different mind, energizes the tune with a jaunty, good-time strut that turns explosive as it moves through various snappy episodes of tension and release. “Cat And Hornet” is the more dynamic of the two originals, a hard-hitting funk workout whose groove Eg punctuates with guttural voice snippets and a battery of crisp percussive colour. Safras drags the tune into the jungle for a banging, bongo-crazed makeover that's downright primal. In his raw remix, dark voices provide an ongoing commentary as the track repeatedly collapses and then dusts itself off for another hellacious attack.Eg complements his own release with an appearance on James Kumo's thoroughly well-seasoned Stagger, which features three originals and remixes by Brendon Moeller and Eg. Kumo's synth-driven techno first appeared on Ann Aimee, an offshoot of Amsterdam's Delsin Records, in 2008, and subsequently on Belgium's Curle Recordings in 2010 and Berlin-based Falkplatz Records a year later. Following the 2011 launch of his own electronic digital label [K:Music], Kumo now makes an appearance on the NYC-based Biatch Corp Recordings imprint. Swagger might be a better choice for the title, given the breezy 4/4 strut that powers the EP's title cut. “Stagger” is full-on techno, seven minutes of pumping pulses smothered in billowing synth smears and a broad front-line of locomotive percussion treatments. Kumo builds the thumping kick drum in “Raindrops” into a pulverizing colossus whose epic pitch is amplified when cosmic synth fire and relentless hi-hats climb aboard, but Stagger's most hypnotic original is “Last Man Standin',” where a double-time hi-hat pulse drives the bass-heavy swirl of Kumo's trippy future-techno. The EP's fleshed out by remixes of the title track by Moeller and Eg, the former a pounding exercise in spacey psychedelia (synth whooshes, gravelly voice accents) and the latter a nuanced take on atmospheric dub-techno whose lithe, house-inflected bounce is perfect for the after-hours come-down.