Alex Smoke: Dust (R&S)
Alex Smoke has always struck me as a bit slippery when it comes to the often over-compartmentalized world of electronic music. At times his tracks plug in readily into a DJ set with typical 4/4 structures, but often he’s more restless than that, and his ideas evade such pigeonholing. His Lux album, for instance, had just as many headphones-only detours as it did dancefloor-compatible jams, and this newest single falls somewhere in the middle. “Dust” is a really infectious strange track, characterized by a pitch-manipulated vocal and airy chords over a chunky, broken mid-tempo groove. Tessela’s remix ups the bass music ante with some heavy low end and a nice head-bobbing groove, but it lacks the gloomy mystique that makes the original so special. A third track, “Ruction (Dub),” closes out the EP, with circular melodic patterns and a breathy arrangement of synths and zaps behind it, having in common with the title cut a smart juxtaposition of smooth and rougher sounds, samples and synths all working in tandem. “Dust” is the clear standout, though, with the other tracks padding it as a bonus. Highly recommended.