When Doc Daneeka dropped the first single from From Mine to Mistress, I couldn’t help but draw the conclusion that the Ten Thousand Yen boss is trying to cash in on House’s popularity at the moment with an accessibly drap interpretation of the formula that’s worked for acts like disclosure. What’s it gonna be, features a lacklustre vocal performance from Seven Davis Jr as a deep-house arrangement follows a very simple verse-chorus form. The lyrics, which is little more than the repetition of an ultimatum posed by the protagonist, lacks the depth that is needed to make the repetitive form a rounded composition. Seven’s vocals are no more distinct than the stabbing synth in the chorus and even after adding several layers they still manage to sound hollow against the paint-by-numbers house accompaniment. Doc Daneeka’s impression on the song only shines through during the second verse when a timpani beats out an irregular beat before the vocals kick in again. This lack of depth and indistinct compositional process even managed to spill out in to video last week, for what was really nothing more than shallow eye candy. This susceptible approach to trend is quite disheartening when considering Ten Thousand Yen’s uncompromising attitude from the past with releases from the likes of Presk and xxxy.
What’s it gonna be is not the only track on the From Mine to Mistress however, and it appears to be an isolated case, on the EP. I promise, a down-tempo track focussing on Davis’ vocals yet again, is much more rich in form and instead of playing to a pop-sensibility, the vocal fronted R&B-esque House track reveals a depth that was absent on the lead track. Here Seven’s vocals offer a more poignant point for reflection even though it still remains repetitive. The arrangement of the accompaniment is however much more varied and thus it doesn’t merely emphasise the repetition of the vocal. The beat-less arrangement still falls into a house aesthetic while some of the sub-frequencies modulate beneath ephemeral chords are discernable as that London influence; I’m reminded of Moody Man’s Freaky Motherfucker. It’s the dance floor tracks however that Doc’s style really shines through on. The major-key arrangement for Together features some horns, bongos and a vocal sample, which lends the track a festival feel, perfect for that prime afternoon spot in the heat of a sun-drenched beach. Doc Daneeka’s experience as a DJ comes through during this meaty part of the EP with Together and Ghost Text foregoing the accessible popular forms in favour of sustained build-ups and simplistic harmonic movements that cut straight to the core of the dancing audience. Ghost Text is especially effective in this regard and I can see why someone like Giles Peterson sings its praises so highly. From Mine to Mistress definitely excels during this phase and although I promise is pleasant, the vocal-fronted house arrangements, come across as bland pop-efforts that attempt to cash in on the popularity of house at the moment, riding on the coat tales of somebody like Julio Bashmore. I understand that the EP precedes an album, and although I promise would certainly make a great album track, the formulaic What’s it gonna be will only amount to a fleeting amusement for the inebriated college student. I hope Doc Daneeka follows through on his dance floor instincts rather than popular trends for the album.