Mr Wolf Trap returns to Tiefschwarz's label with a varied four-tracker
That Berlin bastion of all things deep and brooding, Souvenir Records, welcome back British deep house and techno producer Sousk with four tracks that mark his second outing with them and the label's 109th release.
Sousk is probably deserving of a quick background check here. Self-taught and with a love for analogue gear, Tim Cook hails from Portsmouth, he’s previously released on respected labels including International Deejay Gigolos, Lucidflow and his own Wolf Trap, and he makes music that aims "to bring the sounds of yesterday into the here and now" – an aim that is evident throughout this latest offering.
Manta Ray itself opens with growling bass and moody strings, before the percussion is teased in: first a variety of hats, then a snare along with other elements, so that by the time we hit the one-minute mark, we have haunting female vocals, ominous synths and a rattling tambourine all joining the groove. Cook continues around this core as percussion is added and subtracted, with synths that drop out when the vocals re-emerge. He manages to keep things interesting but clutter-free as we arrive at the first break, where said ominous synths are brought to prominence, building into a drop that makes use of almost all of the elements, setting the tone for the rest of the mid-section. As we head into the final break however, everything is stripped back until only strings, a rhythmic vocal pattern and the hi-hats remain, before a quick white noise swoosh drags us into a wall of appropriate intensity and off we go towards the outro.
Paramus One is up next, with a more traditional intro comprised of just drums to guide us towards another sub-bass growl. This one has a complement of offbeat synth stabs, a bubbling 303 acid line and noticeably more intricate percussion, which is used as the strings rise to create a palpable feeling of jeopardy. That's followed by Pez, a clever blend of early R&S-like FX on the drums and contemporary minimal-style synths and production, which chugs along nicely to create something reminiscent of early Mobilee releases from Sebo K, Sleeper Thief, GummiHz and the like. And then finally there's This Joy, where prominent strings and reverb-heavy claps combine to give the end of the EP a proper end-of-night feel.
A solid release from the label that also helped to break artist like Ruede Hagelstein, Jaw and Yotam Avni.
Words: Iain Taylor
Release date: 9 April
Review Score: 8