Various Artists-Dirtybird Players (Dirtybird Records)
Out March 25th, 2013
LTW’s Simon Tucker gets his hand on a compilation from house music label Dirtybird Records which leaves him with some mixed feelings. Here are the highs….and the lows.
San Francisco based label Dirtybird was formed in 2005 by Claude VonStroke as an outlet for a different brand of house music that he and others such as Justin Martin were creating at the time. With more of an emphasis on rawness and deep bass, as opposed to the shiny R and B-type vocals that were prominent at the time, the label has released tracks by such diverse artists as Shadow Child and Leroy Peppers and now have released their first label compilations.
The albums start rather disappointingly with Kill Frenzy and Nick Monaco’s ‘Black Girls White Girls’, a track so mind-numbingly tedious and backwards that it was a relief when it ended and ‘Rood Boy’ by Mark Starr started. This again was not something to get that excited about as its minimal Electro-Edge and Dub undertones really did not go anywhere and the track just drifts into obscurity.
Just when you think this is going to be the longest 1hr+ of your life, Munni Brotherz ‘Drum Machine’ gets up to bat and the album finally takes off. A track that begins with some extremely deep Techno and that explodes into some very pleasing sleazy Electro-House, this is the point where people would stop chatting and start getting to their feet.
Upping the ante further is Justin Martin and Ardalan’s ‘Wheelgunner (dub)’, an outstanding Deep House cut and a guaranteed dance floor smasher. This is pure grit-your-teeth-and-stomp dance music and a track that instantly wipes the memory of what has gone before it.
A dip then follows with tracks by Gold FFinch and Shadow Child that, although pleasant enough, are a bit too ‘heard-it-all-before’ compared to the previous two tracks. However, tracks by Eats Everything (‘The Withywood Walk’), and Friend Within (‘The Pull’) re-engage with experimentation and are all the better for it.
‘The Pull’ is reminiscent of the recent output of our very own Burial with an extraordinary sub-bass effect rolling throughout the track that is at once uplifting and yet also unsettling (like all good electronic music should be). ‘Withywood Walk’ meanwhile is pure dance floor in the best possible sense of the word. Swirling sounds create a massively disorientating feel which is exactly what the head needs when dancing at 3am.
Unfortunately, this is the peak and the albums then tail off into mediocre territory with one track, ‘Dip’ by Worthy, reaching the previous depths of the opening section of the albums (seriously, this is such a desperate attempt to make a Modeselektor track that Gernot and Sebastian should be checking their trash files on their computers for any missing samples).
Dirtybird Players (Part 1 and Part 2) contain some real gems but as a whole there are too many sub-par tracks in here that only the die-hard fan should invest in the whole set.
Words by Simon Tucker. More writing by Simon on Louder Than War can be found here.