Sparkhouse: Silence and Noise EP
Doppler Records

The latest two-tracker from Edinburgh, UK-based underground house label Doppler Records comes from Sparkhouse, a rather secretive producer who's also based in Edinburgh, prefers to keep a low profile, and for whom few bio-related details are available (he has no website or Facebook page either). What can be reported is that he uses vintage hardware sequencers, 8-bit samplers, live instruments, and guitar pedal effects to create his material and that Silence and Noise is his second release, with the first a split affair with Jacksonville also issued on Doppler.

“Close Up” works a midtempo bounce into a slinky stepper with a smidgen of acid nipping at its heels. Radiant string synths crest o'ertop the tune's sleek pulse, as hard-hitting snares and hi-hats nudge the groove along until distorted voices spread their garbled spiel across the track's warm surface. Replete with dropouts and breakdowns, “Close Up” offers an elegant, seven-minute ride through clubby terra firma, after which “Silence and Noise” stretches its wings for a full-on ten minutes, taking in ample scenery as it does so. Sparkhouse nicely offsets the track's 4/4 stomp with a bubbly funk bass line, disco claps, and hi-hat sizzle, and then elevates it with repeated dashes of deep house vocal snippets and psychedelic synth swirls. If the thudding bass pulse makes “Silence and Noise” the clubbier of the two cuts, both are nevertheless floor-fillers of a particularly well-crafted kind.

August 2011