Good electronic music often comes from the least likely of places. I mean who would have honestly thought that Bristol would become the spiritual home of trip hop? Or that Croydon would be the source of this decades most infectious and influential sound, dubstep.
So it was no surprise to me that I learned veteran beatsmiths Don Leisure and Metabeats who together form the production duo Darkhouse Family, hail from the windswept rolling hills of Wales.
A country known for its strange vowel-less language, Howard Marks and it’s peculiar sheep overpopulation problem. However it seems that the Welsh underground electronic music community shares very little with the happenings of the sheep above ground, except Mr. Marks of course, they share quite a lot of things with him.
Darkhouse Family are new to me, as is their label Earnest Endeavours, but after listening to their new EP “In & Out,” I presume and I dare say hope, they won’t be new for much longer.
They have fit into a very niche space in the British electronic music scene that has been left vacant for too long now. Producers nowadays go down one of two paths, totally balls out experimental, visionary and technical or they stick to the predictable yet reliable formulas already set by their contemporaries, albeit with their own twist.
That’s all well and good, but very few venture out into the no-mans land between the two, being cutting edge but also being digestible by the masses, and this is what I think Darkhouse Family have achieved with their latest offering.
In a relatively short space of time of “In & Out” we’re taken through a myriad of different flavors, demonstrating the vast range of influences and capabilities of these two producers, from the chilled out Miami-beach feel of “Like No Other” reminiscent of Onras album Long Distance to the distinctively Pete Rock sounding “Red Leather and Tartan Paint” to the soulful interludes of “In & Out” and take on the world, it seems between them, they have got every area covered.
My favorite track has to be “Snaggletooth” though, all I can imagine when I listen to it, is how apeshit the guys must have got in the studio making it, a whirlwind flurry of level adjustments, knob turns and beat pad taps, it's a hyped up mover with very little breathing space and a track I’m eager to see performed live.
But make no mistake about it, they are not copying styles, they are creating music which echo's the feel of the said musicians, which given their standing is most definitely a compliment and a testament to the technical skills of the duo.
Let's not forget this is an EP which in my view is all about documenting the particular musical space currently occupied by the artist, material that comes and goes, not nearly coherent enough to be delivered into a full blown album.
All in all the EP boasts a mellow downtempo and rhythmic muse, with dashes of soul and head bumping organic beat maker groove.
They definitely have untapped potential as producers for rappers, along with creating some truly great stand-alone material.
I have only listened to this release from the Darkhouse Family but it's enough to know these guys are musical chameleons able to change the shape and color at the drop of a hat, able to absorb various influences like a sponge and regurgitate them in their own format which only furthers longevity and potential in my eyes, instead of obsessing over genre boundaries and such, the duo treat the musical landscape as one without borders and restrictions, which in my view is the only way forward.
Pick up "In & Out" here.