Tevo Howard: The Age Of Compassion
Buzzin' Fly

Asked by Buzzin' Fly head Ben Watt to write something specifically for the label, Tevo Howard composed “The Age of Compassion,” the track's title itself a reference to a daydream Howard experienced touching on the human spirit and the understanding we'll bring to it in the future. Title considerations aside, the track's compositional sophistication suggests that the time the Beautiful Granville label manager spent in college studying music (law too) were put to good use. His own “House Mix” rolls out a low-end bass pulse and laid-back BPM that feels just right before the layers appear, staccato melodic sprinkles first, chattering hi-hats second, glimmering chords third, and off-beat ride cymbals fourth. The elements cohere into an understated yet seductive jam that's easy to surrender to—not a raver by any stretch but an elegant take that's appealing nonetheless. Dispensing with beats altogether, his “Original Mix” strips the track down to roller-coaster melodic patterns and chiming chords and becomes a meditative ambient setting more than club track. The “Rough Rub” remix contribution from Donnacha Costello (well-known for his Colours tracks) came about serendipitously when an inauspicious Twitter exchange with Ben Watt about bread and jam led to Costello's interpretation of Howard's cut. And a good thing it did, too, given how jacked-up Costello's fiery, bleeped-out take turns out to be—seven minutes of storming techno that finds Howard's melodies given a super-charged backing. Even better, Aera (aka Ralf Schmidt, who manages the Berlin-based Aleph label) goes for a more house-oriented take in his “Recompassion” mix by underlaying the original's melodies with a hard-grooving swing that's as fluid and funky as it is fabulous. All told, Howard's four-track release amounts to a splendid start to what one hopes will be an equally strong year for Buzzin' Fly.

February 2011