Previously responsible for an excellent release on Willie Burns' WT label last year, Art Crime's Obsession proves that his 2014 debut was no fluke. The title track kick-starts the release with a classic deep house sound as a warm, fluid bass provides the backing for melancholic pads and dreamy keys. It's like Chris Gray in serene form. "Rise Fall Run" is tougher and involves harder beats, steely drums and razor sharp percussion, but clearly he can't resist himself and similarly dreamy keys work their way into the arrangement. The only exception to Art Crime's musical house approach is "Show Interest", where tough drums and a murky bass see him pursue a more malevolent sound.
Not much is really known about Art Crime, the latest new name to appear on WT Records, besides the enigmatic statement that they are a "mysterious new Russian producer". Avid fans of William Burnett's label will be familiar with this approach, with the New Yorker a trusted guide for mining new talent on WT - with the likes of Hunee, Entro Senestre, Alex Israel, Shawn O'Sullivan and Portuguese duo Sabre all gracing the label with early 12? releases. Nineties house keys play a big role throughout this EP, with the nostalgic piano sound appearing in three of the four tracks, falling between something you might find on a cute Greta Cottage Workshop 12" and the more anthemic notes heard throughout that brief period when house music littered the pop charts.
Art Crime was responsible for two of 2015's most overlooked 12" singles, the fine Renessence EP on Creme, and the Phonica released Obsession EP. Still Life marks his first appearance on the mighty Pinkman imprint, and contains four distinctive chunks of melodious deep house/Detroit techno fusion. The title track is particularly potent, featuring as it does a relentless piano riff, dreamy pads and unfussy house beats, but the more cosmic, heavily electronic "Distant" isn't far behind. Elsewhere, "Hectic" combines the rush-inducing bliss associated with early Italian deep house, with the rhythmic surge of techno, while "Dead Carnation" is simultaneously oddly bittersweet and deliciously hypnotic.
Mysterious Russian producer Art Crime has previously impressed via releases on Phonica and William Burnett's W.T Records, so it's little surprise to find him popping up on Creme Organization. Nor is it surprising to find the Renessence EP another superb releases that fully showcases Art Crime's talent for the old ivories. "Anxiety Is Always Here" is surprisingly melancholic, with drifting, Detroit influenced chords and tear-jerking pianos complimenting a rolling groove, while "The Owner" is an altogether spookier, more discordant bubbler. There's a fantastically jazzy feel to title track's hissing cymbals, mournful synth strings and minor key melodies, while closer "Intention" is almost ecclesiastical in its use of cathedral organs and heavenly electronics.
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