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19 November 2013

Physical Therapy: Whitelabel (Grizzly)

Physical Therapy is an act about which I know very little, outside of the obvious reference points on Discogs and what not. This four-tracker on Sinden’s Grizzly imprint sounds like a love letter to 90s dance music and rave culture, only reinterpreted through a distorted or fish-eye lens. “Whitelabel” is a joyous pseudo-rave anthem, with its buoyant, unchanging bassline and strange happy house chords that are filtered to give them a shifty, unusual quality. Add in some wailing vocal samples and it’s a full-on party track, albeit one that skews left of center.

“Rolling on Sunday” continues the trend, although its rhythm section is more crisp while synth oscillators swoop up and down in each channel. Halfway through, pitch-bent chords resonate overhead, lightening the vibe into something more party-like in contrast with the slightly darker sound of the arrangement that precedes. “That Horn Track” is again an oddly joyous dancefloor number; its reverbed melodic hook is complemented well by a goofy, squiggly acid bassline that is undeniably fun. The mix of reverb, less typical drum sounds, and nostalgic convention (particularly the happy house chords and acid touches) works well in feeling simultaneously nostalgic and slightly off-kilter, yet still functional for a dancefloor. Nautiluss contributes a remix of “Whitelabel” to round it out, ditching most of the sensibility of the original and instead infusing it with airy pads and breaks that feel nostalgic in their own right, touching on early breakbeat and jungle but adhering to a four-to-the-floor mid-tempo format.

It’s a handsome addition, albeit a more sedate one, to a rousing grouping of tracks that demonstrate a nice combination of nostalgia, humor, playfulness, and leftfield sounds.

Buy it: Boomkat | Bleep | iTunes | Amazon

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