Scuba ScubaAdrenalin EP
HOTFLUSH (HF030, 12” + digital)
The fact that part of the British bass aristocracy has returned to house, as part of the ever changing cocktail, is no secret. There are examples aplenty - and good ones, too - but one of the most significant ones is Paul “ Scuba” Rose's recent output. Rose is boss at Hotflush and is therefore responsible for one of the labels that most helped define dubstep in its early days. While on his acclaimed album “Triangulation” (2010) he already connected the dots between the principles of bass and concepts much closer to techno - with his two most recent releases he seems to make clear that tripled rhythms and wobbly basslines are no longer among his priorities, at least in the studio. Because on “Adrenalin EP”, his first outing on Hotflush after the aforementioned LP, Rose echoes the ideas and sounds that dominate “Loss / FutureUnknown" (Aus Music, 2011) - until now his only release this year (in this case under his moniker SCB), on which the Briton forgets about darkness and oppression in favour of vintage sounds and euphoria.
The title track is probably the most dancefloor-oriented tune Rose has released to date. Built around a 707 rhythm; it's a composition that merges early Chicago house with the promise of happiness of open-air trance productions. The dry rhythm is accompanied by a repetitive but very exciting vocal snippet, a scattered but vigorous bassline and an arpeggio that shows the way to sheer joy. Which arrives in the form of a pad that could shock some because of its progressive connotations, but the producer knows when to stop it and return to the rhythm section before it gets too sticky. It appears again afterwards, this time crowned by some gliding melodies, providing pure ecstasy, eyes closed, hands in the air, gurners galore. “Never”, the first track on the B-side starts out in a darker fashion, with electro rhythms and filtered vocals that supply the brilliant counterpoint. A counterpoint that becomes the centrepiece when, after a minute and a half, some sparkling synthetic textures appear which, once again, vanish suddenly to make way for the mutations of the obsessive bassline and the female vocals. With a similar structure to that of the first track, all the elements get together again later on to takes us to a new plastic paradise.
On “Everywhere”, the Briton returns to the evolutions of American dance music of the eighties, this time focussing on the New York freestyle made popular by Shannon and company. The ingredients, therefore, are clear: syncopated rhythms, boogie basslines and female vocals singing catchy and euphoric melodies. The nuance here comes from an ecstatic melody taken, again, from progressive house, with the excess of epic taken out. The result is - and this goes for the whole EP - a simple but perfectly put together track, made to make you dance with a smile on your face and which, precisely because of its straightforwardness, excellently reaches its goal.