Simon Haydo: Different Shades of White
Stockholm Ltd.

Van Rivers: Messed Up Alternative
Islands & Islets

Characterized by an unwavering focus, Simon Haydo's Three Different Shades of White pursues its prey with laser-like intensity. Though calling his material minimal isn't entirely off-the-mark, Haydo generously clothes his tracks in intersecting layers of clicks, pings, and ticks and in doing so strengthens their impact. The A-side's “Spinal” is a clubby steamroller powered by a relentless bass throb that Haydo spices with percolating layers of hyperactive chatter. As monotone blips spiral into alien belches, Haydo tightens the noose with well-timed drop-outs that add tension to the gyroscopic attack. A tight pulse of pumping kick drums and off-beat hi-hats lays the foundation for prickly pitter-patter and dubby chord punctuations in “Under Down,” while “The Other” awakens, catches its bearings, lumbers into position, and—shades of Dominik Eulberg—strolls through a scenic forest peppered with the busy sounds of woodpeckers, owls, and birds.

Though the Berlin-based Islands & Islets label is intended to be a slightly more experimental first cousin to Pär Grindvik's dance-based Stockholm LTD, the tracks on Van Rivers' twelve-inch storm as mightily as the ones on Haydo's. After “Messed Up” opens with percussive swishes sweeping the floor and a slinking and rather disheveled groove, the tune kicks into gear and morphs into a royally swinging colossus that's got dance floor written all over it. A flip-flopping conga opens “Alt.” but the shape-shifter quickly becomes a metronomic pounder, almost a jacking goosestepper in the way it mercilessly flattens everything in its path. The bass drum's occasional hiccup gives the cut a funkily elastic feel that's bolstered when a grandiose backbeat attack takes charge.

April 2008