Darren Rice: M9

M9, its title cut a club-ready techno monster from Darren Rice accompanied by remixes from Donnacha Costello and Diarmaid O'Meara, inaugurates Heavy Reel, a new imprint overseen by Irish producers Rice and Djamel and intended as an outlet for forward-thinking electronic music by, initially, the label heads and, in time, others too. Rice lays it on thick and fast in his “M9” original, starting with a granite-heavy beat pattern whose slamming lockstep is powered by a rolling bass pulse that Rice then builds up with one layer after another. Thrusting forward, the tune is peppered with creamy chords, ringing ride cymbals, and—most trippily—a buzz-saw strafe of ammo-firing synth stabs that, coupled with an occasional dive-bomb, gives the cut its distinctive character. Costello's remix exchanges Rice's forward drive for a less frenetic skip without losing any of the original's tripped-out aura. There's more of a jacking feel to the makeover, and Costello wisely ensures that there's no lack of swing as the version's off-beat hi-hats and dubby chord punctuations ride it into the second half. At disc's end, Gobsmacked Records label head Diarmaid O'Meara weighs in with his own slamming version, its rolling bass throb and thrum given a hearty percussive spanking by the Berlin-based producer. The EP's a solid start for what one expects will be an equally solid label.

March 2011