Matthew Dear: Slowdance EP

Matthew Dear's Slowdance EP, issued in support of his Black City album, is a generously stuffed collection that not only offers up riffs on “Slowdance” (the album version supplemented by overhauls from How To Dress Well, Todd Edwards, and Bear In Heaven) but sweetens the deal with treatments of “You Put a Smell on Me” by Nicolas Jaar, Breakbot, and Photocall, plus remixes of “Little People (Black City)” by Mark E and Sascha Dive; the hour-long release even manages to squeeze in the digital-only Black City cut “Innh Dahh.”

The EP opens with the original “Slowdance,” a melancholy future-lullaby that plays its drawling soul-blues vocal off against the high-polished sheen of a loping electro-funk pulse. The song gets totally revamped by How To Dress Well into a so-called ‘seance' that's equal parts hypnagogic haze and gospel, especially when Dear's vocal is turned into a wailing falsetto, before Todd Edwards kicks it into club form with an unstoppably tight attack jump-starting the tune with ample doses of energy and oomph. Bear In Heaven opts for funk too, if a slightly less frenetic and club-oriented version of it; in this case, the remix seems more carousel-like in its heady barrelhouse swirl and more geared towards lulling the listener into druggy submission.

Photocall powers “You Put A Smell On Me” with a classic disco bass pulse, while Nicolas Jaar strips the tune down to a skeletal frame for a cruise in Dear's “big, black car” through the late-night metropolis. Sounding like newly uncovered time capsule material unveiled to the public, Breakbot's treatment time-travels back to the ‘80s for a funked-up makeover replete with creamy synths and claps. Injecting “Little People (Black City)” with voodoo fire on one of the release's strongest cuts, Mark E also adds cowbells and shakers to a hard-driving, nine-minute barnstormer that's anything but throwaway, and much the same could be said for Sascha Dive's tribal stormer. “Innh Dahh” spreads its becalmed ambient wings before Photocall's sleek, electro-fied rendering of “You Put A Smell On Me” takes us out. The release earns its recommendation for its generous helpings alone, though it's the unstoppably body-moving “Little People (Black City)” treatments that, to these ears, cast the biggest shadows.

April 2011