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Egyptrixx - Bible Eyes

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Artist: Egyptrixx

Album: Bible Eyes

Label: Night Slugs

Review date: Mar. 7, 2011

It’s safe to say that the skinny jeans contingent of the “hardcore continuum” has taken the reins, and at the price of hoods-up grit, we’re closer to getting a full futurist accounting of dance music’s past. An example: in his recent LuckyMe mix, Oneman dropped the a cappella of 50 Cent & Justin Timberlake’s “Ayo Technology” over Jamie XX’s remix of Gil Scott-Heron’s “NY is Killing Me,” then kept the a cappella going while mixing into Girl Unit’s “Wut.” The number of connections across time, space and genre in those six minutes alone is truly staggering. I guess folks like JD Twitch and Girl Talk make grander efforts, but they certainly lack the continuum’s obsession with soundsystem culture, speed, electronics and urban life. It’s all about moving forward, and I can’t think of anyone in the respective heydays of jungle, drum ‘n’ bass, 2-step, grime, etc. who could explore the sound’s “permeable borders” (to quote from a discussion) between Rory Gibb and Joe Muggs like Oneman and David Kennedy.

The next few months are going to be great for fans of this stuff. Instra:mental’s full-length and “When I Dip,” Boddika’s “Soul What,” Pearson Sound’s “Deep Inside” refix, the FaltyDL remix of TEETH’s “Shawty,” Joy Orbison’s “Wade In,” and the holy grail of recent times, “Sicko Cell” (you know, “I’m the information / Cocaine powder”), are all set to drop soon. The scene is on fire and Night Slugs is one of its leaders, so it’s no surprise that Egyptrixx’s Bible Eyes is pretty top-notch.

The project of Toronto-based producer David Psutka, Egyptrixx hits on the more abrasive side of the ultra-slick but not over-produced Night Slugs sound (for an exhaustive description of what Night Slugs is up to, check out this post on Adam Harper’s blog from last month). Excepting some of Bok Bok’s productions, nothing in the Night Slugs catalog is as straightforwardly harsh as “Liberation Front” or “Barely.” The thing, though, is that the tracks aren’t harsh on the ears. Egyptrixx avoids the brittle tastelessness of modern electro and Fool’s Gold party-starting by allowing a touch of that cold, spacious futurism to creep in. It’s a tricky balancing act, but he damn near conflates eski with Autechre, then charges through with tech-house beats.

Bible Eyes also contains the label’s most subdued tracks to date. The album kicks off with “Start from the Beginning,” which has all the sonic signifiers of a DMZ-style 140-bpm stepper, but puts them toward an introductory mood piece. “Chrysalis Records,” with vocals from Trust, tries to feature some human emotion, and it’s perfectly serviceable, but it falls victim to the same sort of mumbled detachment that hinders The Juan Maclean’s tracks. It’s as if Alison Moyet never existed, and I think Kingdom and Jacques Greene have more effectively integrated actual soul into the Night Slugs sound.

I’m a bigger fan of “Naples,” a track that almost sounds like a dance remix of “Kid A.” The arpeggios are tied to a gentle syncopation, with Psutka tastefully adding abrasive traces. Speaking of permeable boundaries, its lighter-than-air qualities remind me of Wire’s “Kidney Bongos” and Colin Newman’s Commercial Suicide. That might be completely off-base, but the fact that it even occurred to me shows that we’re in new territory.

By Brad LaBonte

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