There’s no doubt the high-grade electronic music coming out of Manchester at the moment isn’t getting the love it deserves. Interestingly, at a time when Bristol is enjoying plenty of attention for its dubstep-cum-house output, Idle Hands has been subtly forging links with leading exponents of Northern beats; namely Szare and AnD. Both those releases, and this new effort from fresh face Alex Coulton make complete sense in the sequencing of the label, functioning around a house music ethic but not being constrained by it.
In the same way Kowton’s tracks dwell in the mid 120 BPMs whilst swinging like the nastiest garage, Alex Coulton’s tracks are clearly unconcerned with fitting a mould. “Candy Flip” gets things off to a storming start wrapping a tight beat up in impeccable sound design, from echoing cowbells to vaporous whooshes. When the bassline drops though, you know you’re hearing a very special slice of hybrid dance music. Deep and resonating, it’s the kind of understated hook that legendary tracks are made of.
There’s no drop in quality on “Brooklyn” either, which starts off on a false pretence of bluesy keys and steady beat, before another one of those killer b-lines comes creeping in and the whole track opens up into another smasher. There’s echoes of Sheffield in the primal, heavy nature of this stomping 4/4, but there’s definitely nothing revivalist about it. As all the previous Idle Hands releases have demonstrated, there’s no need for so many revisitations of past techniques and styles when such fresh, uncomplicated ideas can still be generated if you look hard enough for the right producers.
1. Candy Flip