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White Noise: Locked Groove – Rooted

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Locked Groove – Rooted

Label: Hotflush




Most people’s introduction to Belgian producer Locked Groove, aka Tim Van de Muetter, will have been in the form of his track Drowning, which was one of the standouts of Scuba’s great DJ-Kicks mix from last year. The arresting Techno number was also what got Locked Groove signed to the always on-point Hotflush imprint, and on his debut release it is joined by two deviations into other dance genres, and although there’s nothing here to break any moulds, each track is a perfectly composed addition to Hotflush’s admirable canon. Everyone in the dance world is always on the lookout for new sounds and the next big thing, but when you can re-interpret classic sounds and structures as well as this new producer, there’s not really any reason to look elsewhere.

Stomping centrepiece Drowning is an intense affair purpose-built for peak time dancefloors, layering finely tuned textures before dropping out impressively a minute in, only to return with an extraordinary piston kick, pulling the track clearly into Berghain territory. The 4/4 kick recedes and emerges from focus across the track, complimented by sharp snares and Shed-like synth streaks. It’s an absolutely monstrous tune, and the only real surprise is that it doesn’t dwarf Muetter’s other two offerings on the EP. Next to Drowning, title track Rooted more than holds its own, as a warmer cut paying homage to classic Detroit sounds. Placid and melancholic pads lead a long introduction to a less prominent 4/4 thud, resulting in a tune that presents more of a journey than the central track. Midway through we move into acid territories with a squiggly bassline and vintage synths, and while it’s not a surprising turn of events, it’s put into action perfectly.

Final cut Change is the most unassuming track here, but it also threatens to be the most interesting, offering a clarity and personality more immediately than the other cuts. An unsettled synth-bed soon gives way to a fine techy groove, and the choice vocal sample sounds as much a personal mission statement as it does a crowd-pleasing touch of humanity. It’s impressive how mature these tunes feel for a debut release, and even though Locked Groove hasn’t brought any game-changing styles to the table, this fine collection is more than deserving of repeated spins and a place in any forward-thinking DJ’s set.


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