Bunnies & Bats: Little Colored Blocks EP

“Curiouser and curiouser!”—Alice's words from Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland spring repeatedly to mind as the sounds of Anticipate's latest release flood the room. Why curious? For starters, it's the first release of brand new material from the NY-based label since late 2010 (when Morgan Packard's Moment Again Elsewhere appeared); secondly, the EP's slow-motion techno style is more emblematic of the style of the associated Microcosm label than Anticipate; and thirdly, the material by Philadelphia duo Bunnies & Bats (its first release, in fact) accounts for only one track on the six-song (including digital bonus mixes) release—four minutes out of a thirty-six-minute total.

In coupling clipped vocal stutters and found sounds to a soft'n'sleepy minimal house pulse, Bunnies & Bats' “Little Colored Blocks” plays like a bedroom-styled riff on the signature Microcosm aesthetic (even if the vocal expands into actual phrases such as “Don't you want to be my friend”). But without meaning to knock the original, the EP's more memorable for remix treatments that take the duo's raw material and twist it into unusual shapes: David Last refashions it into a rollicking, dancefloor-ready joint that boogies with single-minded purpose; Nicholas Sauser hews to the Microcosm style in overlaying a jacking house pulse with all manner of wipes, tears, smears, and voice fragments; and Anticipate and Microcosm manager Ezekiel Honig morphs the track into a signature Honig setting that sees a sleepwalking shuffle peppered with vocal murmurs and wrapped in haze. On the digital front, Thomas Hildebrand recasts the tune as a banger by pumping it full of bounce and vigour, while Borne takes the long route home in a submersive techno version that flickers between voice cut-ups and noise flourishes for ten woozy minutes.

The cover's pure Anticipate, but the music's more Microcosm. No matter: it's good to see Anticipate operating again, though for how long isn't (yet) clear.

May 2013