Though the enigmatic Joe may not be the most prolific of producers, having released only a handful of singles for Hessle and Apple Pips since 2009, productions like "Claptrap", "Grimelight" and "Level Crossing" remain some of the most singularly unique club tracks to come out of the UK (or anywhere) in the past few years, utilising a threadbare rhythmic precision that manages to come across as organic rather than sterile. This EP for Hemlock sees him combine this approach with that of the slower, jazz tinged approach of the 116 & Rising compilation highlight "Twice". "MB" is a mere 110BPM and a loopy trip into a collage of old funk samples, while "Studio Power On" is an uptempo "Level Crossing" style oddity with samples including what sounds like someone sawing through wood, and described by the label themselves as "the sounds of 94 Jungle smashed to bits, thrown around a studio and taped back together for 2012". Joe is one of our favourite producers here at Juno HQ, and we can safely say this is one of his best records yet.
Hemlock amusingly describes this latest batch of Joe greatness as "two highly spirited but deceptively strong sonic cocktails" yet even those familiar with the unassuming producer's previous work on Untold's label and Hessle will be knocked sideways. The title cut from Punters Step Out effortlessly demonstrates Joe's capacity for embracing and channelling weirdness is matched by few of his contemporaries; the track's defining drunken Hammond is warped to an insane degree and smelted to a ruff edged drum lick that will cause all manner of chaos down the dancehall. There's also the similarly great "Club Scared", which seems to be an all too appropriate commentary on people ripping off the likes of Blawan et al. With this and the recent Hessle drop, Joe might just have shut down 2013.