3 out of 5
Label: Altered Circuits
Produced by: Ed DMX
A fairly simple EP where the simple = lots of fun on the A-side, and then a bit of unevenness on the B-side.
Reviewing another recent DMX Krew EP, I noted how I tie the appearance of Ed’s work on a label to assumptions about that label as well. The other side of that is the reverse of the logic: might I assume something about a DMX Krew release, based on its label?
‘Powerplay’ is Altered Circuits’ third release, and the non-descript album art – just some label work, otherwise a generic black sleeve – and the label name and whatnot admittedly had me assuming this would be an “off” DMX Krew EP, and likely of a more club-oriented variety. Those assumptions don’t make for a bad listen, rather just suggesting that it might not be the densest stuff.
The A-side of the EP aligned with my expectations as to the sound – very house; standard beats, 80s style, with Ed’s little twirl of funk – but I was also very pleased by how tight these were, zipped up such that neither song suffered from any repetitiveness, or kitsch indulgence. They absolutely pass as boogie-worthy beats, while also rewarding via Ed’s precise ebb and flow of sounds added and taken away.
The B-side – or rather the title track – is more exactly what I was thinking this would be: a fun beat; a voice sample; rinse and repeat. Simple; not dense; and just kinda off – a song sketch; something Ed could do in his sleep. The preceding Masked Man is actually, for the most part, very excellent, featuring an unstoppably weird glitch IDM beat that’s falling apart and being put together at the same time, but it also goes on for too long after establishing itself – way too long – and also just doesn’t sync up well, tonally, with the other tracks.