Pursuit Grooves: Broadcasting A Sensory Sequence
What Rules

Android acid-house? Future techno? Space funk? It's hard pinning down Vanese Smith's latest Pursuit Grooves full-length Broadcasting A Sensory Sequence, though I suspect she'd not have it any other way. Her follow-up to last year's Frantically Hopeful (Tectonic Recordings) is a polystylistic affair, one comfortable pulling into its bass-filled orbit tablas, organs, and beats, beats, beats. It's less a radical step beyond the Tectonic release than a refinement of its sound—but that's not in any way a bad thing.

Catholic in her choice of sound sources, Smith works a generous potpourri of electronic, synthetic, and acoustic sounds into a given piece. Handclaps, synthesizers, hand percussion, voices, and programmed beats all come together in her tripped-out electro-funk. In a representative jam, synthetic elements and melodic patterns build up and then fall away, exposing the punchy rhythmic skeleton slamming at the track's center. Throughout the forty-minute collection, intricate cross-currents of syncopated beats and synth pulsations collide and split apart with controlled fury. It's a heady and precision-tooled music whose gaze is firmly directed towards the future without turning its back on the history out of which it evolved. Nowhere is that more evident than in “Dearest Nature,” when Smith overlays tribal flurries of percussive swing with synthetic washes and chords.

Funnily enough, though Pursuit Grooves' music is very clearly groove-centered, Broadcasting A Sensory Sequence is as much, if not more, a listening album than conventional dance album (even if a high-roller such as “Code Nexion” would easily fill the club floor). That in itself is a sign of how rewarding a collection it is, in that it holds up strongly under the closest listening scrutiny.

May 2013