So the thing about a WOLF record is that you can hardly miss it in a record bag. The conspicuous lettering is adept at catching attention. Thankfully, so is the music bestowed and engraved in the wax itself. Responsible for uncovering producer talents like Ishmael, Frits Wentink, Casino Times, James Welsh and Ron Basejam, WOLF don’t compromise on the quality of their releases. They keep their core strong thanks to a couple of mainstays who are the pillars of the imprint’s sound like Greymatter and KRL who regularly tour and feature on label showcases. For their latest release “Conquered Enemies”, flying Dutchmen Homework are on hand with three tracks and a remix from Greymatter that bristles with all the warm luminosity of a great house record. House music for the purists.
A1) Conquered Enemies
A2) Time & Time
B1) Back To The Masses
B2) Conquered Enemies (Greymatter Remix)
Out now on 12″ Vinyl. Digital to follow in December.
Conquered Enemies is an optimistic opener. You can almost swim around in the reverb on the handclaps while shuffling hats keep things moving forward. Vaulted string pedals play a key role in supporting the structure from above while the female oo-ing is fragmented before it can get too diva-ish, but it’s sultry nonetheless. The male and female spoken lines trade off with one another like signposts for would-be verses.
Nonchalant flourishes colour the chords with splendour in Time & Time, but there’s still enough chug in the bass to drag it forward with some semblance of momentum. It provides the perfect platform for the vocal to sit on top of. Again, it’s these empowered voices, emancipated from rhythmic simplicity and blessed with a natural flow. A simple formula but so expertly executed once again by Homework. There is such a wealth of different textures and measures of attack from the plucking of the guitar to the smooth held chords and the warm kick drum.
I’m not going to lie, I ain’t got the foggiest about what the vocal is saying in Back To The Masses, but for me it’s about the feeling that’s conjured up. Antiphony is used between preacher and, let’s assume, the ‘masses’. There is so much groove in that twanging double bass. And the swing in the drums. There’s something so natural about swung time signatures that completely quantized beats lack. As a result, the beat is looser and dancing to it becomes less of a robotic lock-in which might be more appropriate to some crazy techno. Greymatter’s remix of Conquered Enemies is even more to the point than the original adding and subtracting the layers of each part in an obvious yet satisfying fashion. It’s simplistic, but blissfully so.
The whole EP has an old school timeless sound with a human sound quality, using natural vocal samples that are largely left untouched. It’s often a case of supplying a backing track for the free verse of the vocals. This sort of laidback deep house enjoys being what it is. No frills, just vibes – and I don’t think I’ll ever be able to run away from music like this because of the enduring emotion of positivity. Techno can get too dark at times, and this sort of house provides the perfect foil.