Offshore OffshorePacer EP
BIG DADA (BD185, 12” + digital)
The rather secretive producer Offshore returns to Ninja Tune sub-label Big Dada with the “Pacer EP”, in the process delivering one of the more exciting and varied electronic/dance releases of recent months. I won’t lie I’ve always slept on Offshore’s output. And this EP was no different until I was asked to review it. Which is a good thing, as it’s made me realise that I was probably missing on a fair amount of good stuff.
“ Pacer” opens with the title track, a bouncy number led by a thumping kick and syncopated, alternating percussion that gives it an atmosphere somewhere between grime and rave - especially when the main melody kicks in. A little on the long side, it still manages to make the right kind of impact. “ Pepper” follows on the same line, with a riddim that references and evokes grime’s energy and fury, yet freshens it up with a cleaner approach; definitely one for the floor. Then you have “Pearls And Butler” featuring Cienfuegos on vocal, an odd little number at first and by far my favourite track on there. No grime references here - or much obvious recent dance music - instead a beautiful instrumental that actually reminds me of ska; especially when coupled with the vocal’s unmistakable English accent. The short but sweet “Mintlaw” brings things back towards the dance-floor - this time taking a more obvious cue from southern hip hop with a low swung, bouncy vibe - that I wish was a little longer so you could actually play with it during a set. “East Coast Capital Connect” rounds things up, staying on more of a hip hop vibe but with a drop worthy of any self-respecting dance-floor. Again, here Offshore does the whole low slung, grinding thing quite aptly - with just the right amount of melodies and effects to not distract from the piece de resistance which is the riddim.
“Pacer” is not only an actual proper EP - that is 5 tracks that form a cohesive whole rather than 2 tracks and a bunch of remixes - it’s also quite a refreshing and varied one; with its first half on a grimy tip and its second on a hip hop swing with the beautiful, danceable “Pearls And Butler” in the middle. If like you’d been sleeping on him, then it’s high time you woke up. And if you hadn’t been sleeping then you’ll know this is a worthy purchase.