Wave Dweller - The Smokeout EP
Mark Newton returns with a download of cut n paste characters that carry over from last year’s Rat Race, with a cunning style putting in work when you think he’s not taking anything seriously. With much of Past Forward running in the opposite direction and confusing funk and jazz scores like The Go! Team not knowing whether they’re coming or going, Wave Dweller works in no end of end of the pier cheeky chappiness. Kooky, but also more sensible than the blueprint deems, and the same can be said for Work Play Relay; an 8-bit platformer told to rest in the corner and take a load off, hatching something of an oxymoron where chip music piles up the points in easygoing, almost wallpapered head-nodding. It livens up the bland and conversely brings the manic comfortably down to earth.
Relaxed B-boy instrumental Components Knitted Like Wool, with a horned spring in its step and a sample in its heart – namely American radio idents and jabbering chipmunks - is the sound of leaving work in short sleeves and with only the ice cream van in mind. Green Eyed Domino is the result of Mr Whippy stomach rot: an unexpectedly unhappy dip into the dark after such a sunny smile, narrated by samples mixing up early Vadim, old wives tales and frontier psychiatry. Watch your step with this one.
At this point you’re thinking Newton has definitely got some hip-hop beatage in him, but can he leave the reliance on samples alone? Well yes and no, with Leaves a level-headed guitar-looped step off the stoop that, though featuring a vocal raid (bringing to mind Jehst’s 'Bluebells'), is more about the shipshape, end-of-the-day instrumental. Climb into your favourite chair, plonk it under a sunshade, and let The Smokeout settle.
Wave Dweller - Rat Race
Suave jazz-house optimism, full of sample silliness and easygoing attitude that eventually gives in to turntable high jinks
For those that struggle to get out of bed of a morning, here’s something to have you floating out of the duvet and down the stairs into a summery fantasy. Jazzy half-paced house from Wave Dweller’s Mark Newton, well named in occupying hazy margins wondering what The Go! Team would sound like with housier headphones and a deckchair, has Penny for the Well unpacking quirkiness in the form of vocal loops pulled from a gramophone and filtered Gallic sunshine reminding of a time when the loop of a good-sized twang used to instantly put dancefloors in good spirits. Either as a pleasing galvaniser, or call for time at the bar, Newton’s theory starts as a toe-tap, before a romanticised energy starts gravitating its way through your entire body.
Just as fresh is Rat Race, a geed up, tightly coiled jazz houser coming live and direct with a guitar line citing a mature strand of getting down. Aimed at the wrong ears and this’ll come off as smugly bland, a kind of coffee table house marginally missing out the part where it starts parties in hotel lifts and lobbies. Thankfully it develops a sense of fun – bottle-plinking percussion, more sample-babble, for a half and half of debonair and child’s play - that’s not quite as cheeky as the likes of Mr Scruff’s Get a Move On, but can get a serious round of grooving going on contact, strong enough to stand up on its own two feet if you initially think a vocal could do with testing its cool a little more.
Jazz Hands is definitely on some DJ Yoda/Scruff biz (there’s definitely a smell of fish in the air), with horns turning in unnatural turntable revolutions and the Dweller giving in to his inner kid as he prances round the ballroom. All-out wacky, in a hip-hop instrumental demonstrating his past times in vinyl rummages. 8/10
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