The first thing that draws the attention on “Boxy Music” is that, other than the previous releases on 100% Silk, all signed by practically unknown producers with few titles to their name, the new reference on the Not Not Fun subsidiary is the work of a producer who is already established on the American electronic market. The second thing, more on a side note, is that it's the first time the artwork isn't generic but designed by the artist himself. Behind Strategy stands Paul Dickow, based in Portland, active since the past decade and with a trajectory that includes founding the label Community Library, doing remixes for DFA and two experimental dub-ambient albums on Kranky (one of them highly recommendable: “Future Rock”).
Dickow, however, has always been versatile, and for his debut on Amanda Brown's label he manages to adapt his sound to the aesthetic of the house without corrupting his own personality. So, what we find on these five tracks is, mainly, crackling house, with faded textures, rugged sequences and sunken melodies, very much in the vein of Cuticle or the first EP by Ital. “Bolly Valve”,the first track, presents a fusion of techno with oriental melodies and Bollywood vocal samples, seductive in all its lo-fi exoticism. On “Skanking Stabs”, however, Strategy combines a marching groove with razor-sharp acid bubble embellished with far-away cowbells, like recorded on the bottom of a muddy well. “Feel The Earth” is dominated by a melancholic melody of bells that gives the song an Omar-S feel, only with feeling thicker rather than crude. “Starry Day”, in its part, is a kind of trance-rave abstraction that connects directly with the mutant and weirded-out hedonism of many of the 100% Silk releases.
And finally, “Bolly Valve Reduction” is, as its title suggests, a revision of the first track, on which Dickow undoes the melody and reinforces the abrasive component, burying the sequences in something close to the sonic version of a sandstorm. All in all, a good EP that won't disappoint the most avid 100% Silk followers, yet doesn't rach the level of inventiveness and magnetic power of the label's best releases.