The latest EP from the man known to his mother as Paul Rose marks the latest in an ever-evolving succession of stylistic manoeuvres that have seen the Hotflush godfather effortlessly glide along the perimeter of the hardcore continuum. From his heady, sub-heavy early output (A Mutual Antipathy ) to the slightly more percussive, UK funky-influenced moodiness of his sophomore opus (last year's highly-lauded Triangulation) via chunky teutonic techno excursions under the SCB alias, as well as the hands-in-the-air house with his Loss EP on Will Saul's Aus Music imprint - it's clear he's a man of many names and even more talents. Let's not forget the brash, belligerent 'Dance 4 Me' as Spectr on RKS.
For the Adrenalin EP he chooses to return to the aquatic guise under which he made his name (or one of them, anyway) although those expecting a similar return to the days of yore in terms of musical content may find themselves somewhat surprised. Scuba goes back alright. Way back. Before dubstep, before garage, maybe even before house. What you're listening to is pop music, plain and simple. And I for one am certainly not complaining.
The title track opens with the gentle pitter of vinyl crackle and pounding 707 kicks (okay, so maybe it's house music actually) as Rose gently lifts the filter on a myriad of vocal snatches. By the time that analog bassline surfaces we're firmly into fist-pumping territory. MDMA-drenched strings slowly rise along with a faceless diva's utterance of, what at least sounds like, “adrenaline”, leading to the mother of all breakdowns. That ubiquitous bassline returns after the drop, sounding a little underwhelming given the previous fanfare, but brilliant all the same.
Second cut 'Everywhere' is definitely the most pop-conscious of the three – synth stabs straight out of the GTA: Vice City soundtrack and a seriously jacking bassline joining with yet more uplifting vocals, saying things like “come on feel it” and “feel the power” - cheesy but in a good way. 'Never' is my personal favourite of the three, combining the 80s aesthetic of 'Everywhere' with the euphoria of the title track, especially around the 2-minute mark as the ferocious breakbeat meets the heart-rending string sequence. The aggregation of dancefloor potency and emotion in this particular track points to the likes of Art of Noise or New Order circa Technique.
Adrenalin EP Preview - Scuba [Hotflush]
It almost seems that having properly settled into his new home of Berlin, Paul Rose has stopped spending so much time in the big frightening downstairs room of that former Kreuzberg power station and perhaps decided to take a trip upstairs. And stayed there until Sunday afternoon when the shutters are up and the sun is shining. And then went home and wrote an EP based on this experience.
The Adrenalin EP is released via Hotflush on Monday 26 September 2011 - buy it at Juno.