Pheek: Substructure
Toys For Boys

Tom Dazing: Intenze
Toys For Boys

Solid EPs from the Belgian electronic label Toys For Boys suggest a strong kinship with the minimal house, sample-heavy aesthetic of labels like Microcosm and foundsound. First up is Pheek (Montréal resident and Epsilonlab member Jean-Patrice Rémillard) whose deeply textured, nimble, and thoroughly club-ready Substructure disc pairs two nine-minute pieces with two shorter edits. The longer cuts include “Triste Satellite,” a relentlessly chugging slice of crunchy techno that overlays pulsating beats with whooshes, crackles, and other spectral noise, and “Gamma,” whose locomotive tech-house groove is spurred on by a bubbly bass line and a neon dub ambiance. The lightly swaying “Soyouz Retour” and heavily textured “Cap Perché” offer a slightly chilled respite from the hectic pace.

Tom Dazing's Intenze slams harder than Pheek's in spots, with his bruising “Stallion in the Sack” an incredible acid-goosestep groove of whiplash thwacks, martial snare patterns, and scalpel-sharp hi-hats. On a softer tip, a lightly burbling melody brightens the swaying groove of “Big Whiff” while the spindly techno of “In-tanze” and confidently strutting “Switch Below” reveal a heavy Daniel Bell influence. Still, while both EPs are fine and admittedly club-oriented by design, a stronger melodic dimension to go along with the rhythm emphasis would strengthen the material.

February 2006