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XY-Me – Star Spangled EP (Abode)

London-based producer XY-Me’s stock has been rising recently, with his work being recently showcased on the ADE sampler for Dave Seaman and Steve Parry’s young label, Selador. This EP is the first release of XY-Me’s own new label, Abode. Often there’s a temptation to play it a little safe with a first release: to try to get the right people interested without putting too many people off. XY-Me seems to want to have none of that; both tracks are a mish-mash of house and garage sounds, trancey melodies, and old-school breakbeats. They should be a mess, and to some degree they kind of are – there is a kind of robustly chaotic edge to them. But you know what? They’re bloody brilliant.

The highlight for me is definitely the first track, ‘City Lights’. Starting out with some eighties–flavoured cool and wonky synth melodies, the four-to-the-four kick drum is immediately forced to compete with one of the broken beats mentioned in the introduction, while the melodies duel it out with a bassline that means business. Fortunately, XY-Me balances everything perfectly, and in each case it’s a draw. The breakdowns introduce a super-processed but soulful vocal that really lifts the track, adding the finishing touch. It’s weird as get out, but I’m totally into this.

‘Wookie’ is similar, and it didn’t make quite such a big impression on me. It does have a couple of distinctive tricks up its sleeve though, with really outstanding programming and these mesmerising acid flourishes which enters during the main breakdown at the halfway point and which, together with the beautiful ripples of melody that emerge as the track ramps back up, really light proceedings up. So it’s second for me, but a close second.

This is wicked and deeply original stuff from XY-Me, and although it won’t appeal to everybody it’s going to have tons of crossover potential. If this is the kind of thing we’ve got coming to us from Abode, it’s going to be a label to watch for sure. 8/10

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