Dusky – Love taking over

Dusky’s Nobody Else EP on Aus, still makes regular appearances in my playlists and whenever I get the chance to DJ, which happens rarely today, any track from that release is essential in avoiding a lull on the dance floor, comprehensively. Dusky’s tracks are always party-starters and their memorable hooks and club-orientated productions make their music accessible for the unacquainted listener. I’m sure every indie dance label would be squirming to get a signature Dusky track in their catalogue, which made it all the more appealing that their latest release Love Taking Over, came by way of the pair’s newly established label, 17 Steps. What this usually equates to for any artist is that a level of freedom is afforded to their music that’s not yet been available to them from other labels, and this aspect definitely shines through on this EP. If you need a way in however, I would suggest the title track, because this is a Dusky track through and through. A hollow bass line punctuates Love Taking Over alongside a fairly standard House beat, while a catchy vocal sample supplies the hook. But before you think the duo have just gotten complacent the sparkle of the distortion over the hi-hats suggest something a little more sinister lurks on the edge of this release.

Inta soon confirms this assumption as a big kick layered with an industrial strength reverb, throws the listener into unexpected territory for the duo of Alfie Granger-Howell and Nick Harriman. The rapid reflex of this beat around the middle sixteen and crux of the track shows an impulsive aggression and welcomed lack of restraint from Dusky. The all-to-familiar female vocal smoothes things over though during the break and subdues the repetitive Inta coming from the opposing sample, just in case got a bit too incessant for you. There’s a big brassy bass at the heart of this track which sounds like its exploded from a train of sequential moog synths going through a valve amp. It’s a big sound but not nearly as obnoxious as a big trance-like synth.

Dusky breaks out of a mould on this release with the inclusion of this track, but it’s actually Expectation that proves to be clincher for me. The simple but effective bass-line is still there but the slick production style of the pair gets fractured around the edges, bringing with it a little more of that early unprocessed aesthetic that graced some of those first house records. Wait, I get the impression that some of you might misunderstand me. Don’t mistake this for another one of those “raw”/I-couldn’t-be-bothered-to-mix-this-properly tracks. The production quality is still the standard that you’d expect from Dusky and it’s evident from the big dipping bass that envelops you around the first break. I can envisage it shaking your diaphragm to the point of inducing regurgitation, if it was ever played through a big system and still have the power to crush a brick wall. Expectation is thus somewhat misleading in its title. It might be neatly packaged in the form of a house track but these little things make it anything but what you’d expect. The vocal sample is almost indistinguishable as it is resigned to the obscurity of a background hiss, while the, heretofore insufferable bongo drum has acquiesced itself to a barely discernible… click.

It puts Dusky in a slightly new light for me, and marks a new step for the duo in my opinion. I obviously can’t be sure that Dusky have been pigeon holed and restrained by other labels, but this release does imply a strong inclination to that supposition. As the first release on their own label, it’s hard to ignore the coincidence, but I don’t want to get too carried away either, because it still has Dusky’s signature sound all over it and when all is said and done, it was exactly this, that drew an audience to their music in the first place.