Max D: High Life (Hot Haus Recs)
Max D is the shorthand for Maxmillion Dunbar, a.k.a. Andrew Field-Pickering, also known for Beautiful Swimmers and Future Times. “High Life” is one of my first exposures to his music, despite his bountiful catalogue, and I was hooked with its weirdo canned break cut-ups and infectious weird filtered synth. About a minute and a half in, a bulbous 303 bassline springs to life underneath, and from there he primarily subtracts and adds layers for the duration. It’s a weirdly joyous 90s throwback, not only in its sounds but in its bouncy and almost incongruous arrangement.
Willie Burns tames it on the flip with a tranced out remix, anchoring the cut-up breaks with a bobbing, steady kick drum. Instead of the spritely melody of the original, Burns reworks it to be a more melancholy and circular pattern, with the 303 falling in key and adding momentum rather than the disconnected counterpoint of the original. It loses some of the weird edge of the original, but it’s a fantastic six and a half minutes of music unto itself.