Friday, 13 January 2012

Hatch a plan!

I feel like I talk about the same stuff over and over again on this blog. All of my posts in the new year thus far have been pretty much about the same things. I love dirtybird, its so cool; I love Pets Recordings, blah blah blah; I love Scuba, he's my favorite! It doesn't help when those same things were also heavily focused on in my year end lists. So today I must have something different to talk about right? Nope, it's a new compilation from dirtybird. Yes I am just that pathetic. Well it is January, which as we all know is historically shite for new releases. There will be new things to pick up on eventually, but for now its all about the bird.

So what is this new compilation you ask? Well it's called Hatched, keeping in line with the bird theme that Claude Vonstroke has worked so hard to maintain. Ultimately, Hatched will consist of 12 tracks featuring 12 different artists, each previously unreleased. Prior to the final installment's release, which is at the end of February, there will be a series of three 4 track eps. The first of those eps dropped last Tuesday.

One of the great things about dirtybird is the consistency with which they release these compilations. There has been an exclusive, previously unreleased, double-digit-track release every year for three years now. Another thing that the label is known and respected for is its consistent quality. A very specific sound and style has always been maintained throughout dirtybird's existence. Through the incorporation of like-minded producers Claude Vonstroke has managed to create not only one of the most marketable and successful underground dance labels, but also one of the most easily recognizable. I think a label has done its job when people hear a track at a club and say "Wow, that must be on dirtybird. And if it isn't, it should be."

Many of the aforementioned like-minded producers have appeared on other compilations throughout the years. The "Five Years of Dirtybird" compilation featured the likes of The Martin Brothers, J. Phlip, Worthy, Sascha Braemar and Riva Starr. Hatched seems to represent a slight changing of the guard perhaps. Most notably absent is co-boss Justin Martin, and everyone's favorite party-girl J. Phlip. Some regulars do make appearances such as fellow San Franciscan Worthy, Justin Martin's brother Christian, Polish stalwarts Catz n' Dogz, as well as rising star Tom Flynn.

The list of newcomers include the very obvious Eats Everything, as well as one-time dirtybird contributor A1 Bassline, and the brand new DJ Cra$y and Breach. Certainly the most interesting new acquisition has to be Kingdom. The Nightslugs regular has two tracks both entitled SFX that will appear on hatch. This, coupled with CVS's devastating remix of Wut, could be the sign of more collaborations to come from these two seemingly-unrelated-yet-shockingly-very-related labels in the future.

As for the tracks on Hatched Pt. 1 themselves, included in the first volume is one of Kingdom's SFX tracks, the A1 Bassline track, a track from the relatively unknown Sascha Robotti, and a collaboration from Claude Vonstroke and Eats Everything. The Sascha Robotti track, entitled "The Major" is probably the most safe of all the tracks included on volume 1. A moderately catchy vocal hook dances around a typical-yet-punchy low-end bassline, while sparse and distorted horns serve as melody. The track will certainly move a dance floor, but it isn't the best that either the label, or Robotti himself has offered.

The A1 Bassline track "Why Do You" is another track that feels like it never quite gets to where it wants to go. The title is the only thing that serves for vocals throughout the track, and I do mean throughout. The percussion and repetitive vocal create a hypnotic groove that is further enforced by the addition of dub-sytnths half way through the song. The inclusion of the signature dirtybird-bass almost seems out of place with the rest of the track, which itself is certainly a transitional track from start-of-the-night to peak hours.

The Kingdom track on paper was definitely the most exciting. What would a Kingdom track on dirtybird sound like? The answer: pretty much exactly like a Kingdom track. He once again makes full use of the whole vogue sound with plenty of fancy string samples and sirens. The drum beat is interesting because it sounds both exactly like almost every other Kingdom track that has been produced at house tempo, yet at the same time it sounds surprisingly like it could be from CVS himself. It is interesting that two ideals that were thought to be vastly different, and thus the combination of which should serve to be intriguing, turn out to be hardly surprising at all. This isn't to say that it is a bad track, it is however just not Kingdom's best, which I contend is never at house tempo in the first place.

So that leaves us with "Ignorance is Bliss" by Claude Vonstroke and Eats Everything. And interesting situation exists between the collaborators of this track. While close to the same age, CVS is leagues ahead of Eats Everything in terms of exposure and experience. Eats Everything idolized CVS and dirtybird as a whole for many years, but he was never able to crack the roster until recently. CVS is frustratingly un-prolific, while Eats Everything seems to be able to churn out hit after hit. As I said earlier, a changing of the guard may well be underway.

Anyway, the track itself is easily the best of the bunch, not surprising considering the talent level of the two producers behind it. It uses vocals, but only a ghostly "Ohhhhohhhhohhhh" and a indiscernible line that pops up at the end of the break-downs. The bass, while heavy, definitely maintains the listeners attention and keeps things sufficiently interesting throughout the 6:45 duration of the track. And trust me, they use all 6:45 to full effect. The first third of the song sounds like could have come off of Beware the Bird. The bass rolls and the drums almost create a break-beat, while the sketchy "Who's Afraid of Detroit"-esque synths punctuate with melody. But things really get interesting after the tastefully big second breakdown. Things get a little heavier and a little squelchy, but it never overpowers the careful groove that has been laid in place. It is a great track and it would work just as well early on in the night, or right at prime-time.

Overall, this isn't the best set of tracks that has come from the dirtybird camp, although they definitely will serve as some serious dance floor weapons, especially for early on in a set. I have always felt like the eps and singles have been the label's strong-suit. But once you get past the fact that these tracks, like pretty much all of dirtybird's catalogue, are aimed at the dance floor and not for your headphones, then you can really get an appreciation for them.

Claude Vonstroke & Eats Everything - Ignorance is Bliss (Radio Rip) (dirtybird)

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