Heartthrob – Haus Arrest

Heartthrob, aka Jesse Siminski, has been exploring the boundaries of the dance floor for over a decade. Tired of the limiting aesthetics of his adopted home M_nus, he established ISNISNT in 2013, an exclusive outlet for “interesting dance tracks with a visual element that complimented the music’s personality.” Discount Dancer made the first cut with inventive analogue synthesisers transferring infectious Roland percussive jams to new dimensions in club land. The label has not quite had the momentum the artist had in mind according to a recent in interview with when we dip, but it has certainly been a solid one. Haus Arrest marks the third release for the label and Heartthorb, maintaining much of the same ingenuity that was there on the first release, staying true to the ideal of the label. Infectious beat arrangements are still the order of the day with a healthy dose of 303 acid coursing through the veins of each track on the EP. The visual element is strong once again as Jesse channels some alter nerd-ego on the cover of the release, affirming that element of humour that’s been concurrent on ISNISNT before you even get to the first 808 kick.

The light-hearted approach to the visual element is not concurrent with music however, which is steeped in something rather more serious than comedy. The experienced producer shows his magnificent hand in crafting tracks that make the dance floor the epicentre of progression through innovative approaches to development and sonic structures. On Hours Left the thin e-piano chords warp into unsubstantiated pitches while a beat hovering close to the domain of two-step territory keeps our interest piqued up to the closing moments of the track. Heartthrob applies a decade’s worth of knowledge into the minutest details. Themes come and go with resolve, confident and without ever sounding like a compromise. A track like, A fete worse than death sounds eclectic yet focussed, the 303 opting for some restraint before it bursts through the beat at the crucial moment of the track. Siminski’s execution is always controlled and never gives way to whim, which translates into a compositional flow that’s progressive rather than functional.

Heartthrob saves the best for last on this EP in the form of Does your car know and its acid reprise. Made up of little more than an 808 and a 303 the tracks bring a darker edge to the blithe percussive parts, which sparkle at the top end through splashy cymbals. The deep gargling of the acid motif found on both tracks, churns away at your feet, poking its head out of the muddy frequencies long enough to make an impression on the listener before ducking down again amongst the swamp-like texture of the 303’s subconscious. For an artist that’s been in the game for 10 years now this EP hardly marks a new approach for Heartthrob, but in the context of ISNISNT’s two-year existence it goes to cement the sound of the label and its sole artist. The focus changes from release to release with Siminski probably indulging a time-specific workflow tendencies, but together they all form something concrete and resolute, something that should keep us tuned in for as long as its operates.

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