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Velvet Rag (BPitch Control)

Phon.o returns for
this punchy tech house collaboration with Born In Flamez on vocals.
The result is much more accessible than other tracks I’ve heard from
him, with an immediate pop crossover appeal about it. “Bodycheck”
plays almost like an electroclash track, with half spoken breathy
vocals over a straightforward four-to-the-floor mix that eventually
give way to a repitched, tuned chorus hook (“Who’s it gonna be?”)
that has just as much in common with current UK ‘floor trends as the
party jam vibe of turn-of-the-century electro-pop. Phon.o
has struck me as an outlet for all sorts of dancefloor-friendly
productions that flirt with current trends; compare his mid 00’s
techno for Shitkatapult with his later releases for 50 Weapons and
it’s clear that he keeps his ear to the ground for what’s
happening around him, putting it to good use with his own knack for
beatmaking and production. It also is somewhat of a full circle for
Bpitch Control, the Berlin label that made waves early on for its
fine taste in techno but then supported a variety of artists and
releases that blended between house, techno, and pop for most of the
00s before shifting focus back toward tech house primarily.

In any
case, for those that might consider the first cut too conventional or
pop-leaning, he turns out an alternate longer “Dark Club
Version” that eschews almost the entire vocal of the original,
keeping only its looping tuned hook and focusing otherwise
repetitious chord stabs, some nice hefty low end, and a punchy techno
arrangement. The two work well as sides of the same coin, appealing
to both those who like a little pop in their techno as well as those
who prefer their club tracks leaner and sleeker. “SOAG” is a
slick tech house track with a really fantastic, reverberated clap
that punctuates every other bar. Its full chords and looping vocal
bits recall the tranced out transmissions of mid 90s house and techno
crossover, with enough melancholy to move this set of ears as much as
its rolling chord triplets and tightly wound rhythm section. Solid
all around with plenty to appeal to both techno heads and
pop-crossover enthusiasts.

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