Roger West: Wasted House (In Paradisum)
Roger West’s four cuts of mutant house here are truly exciting to my ears. Much like artists such as Todd Edwards and Akufen (and *cough* yours truly) approached a different, angular, cut-up spin on house and techno, West here is exploring strange, disorienting variations on traditional dancefloor tropes. The first, “Moldy House,” drips with effects, trippy delay and a dense slab of beatmaking. Still, amidst all that confusion, there is a steady throb and a little bit of a melodic hook to hold it together. It’s that flirtation with disaster that makes most of this EP so interesting to me, as these cuts are largely functional enough to fly in a more adventurous DJ set, but it’s also compelling headphones listening, with a keen attention to stereo detail and mix. “Washing House” is odder yet, with a sludgy opening that threatens to unravel at any time, sounding like Andy Stott doing a riff on funky house. A low-end kick threatens to throw down at any moment, but West holds out on us, never delivering on the tension he brings to a boil.
“Soaked House” is dusty cabinets house beaming in every direction through a prism, fragmented and angular yet wholly satisfying. Add in what sounds like a classic Korg M1 perc organ and it’s irresistible in spite of all its weirdness, complete with a weird runaway room verb effect at the end that is supremely lifelike. Rounding it out is “End House,” another cut that despite its choppiness is surprisingly easy, with a handsome low end and diced up house piano and mangled vocal, very clever stuff. It’s one of the more inspired listening riffs on dance music I’ve heard, not so cerebral that it misses the point and yet oddly provocative headphones listening. Highly recommended.