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Alexkid: Celi Dub EP

Since being signed to Laurent Garnier’s F Comm label in 97 on the strength of a drum and bass demo – recorded on cassette no less – Alexkid (born Alex Mauri) has established himself as a respected and versatile producer in the underground scene. His output has varied, spanning accessible crossover vocal cuts such as ‘Don’t Hide It’ and ‘Come With Me’, his electronic outfit Dubphonic – which Mauri himself describes as “the soundtrack of a Sergio Leone movie made by John Carpenter” – and even mixes for George Michael.

Despite his diversity, it is for his releases in the house and techno scene that Alexkid is best known, with his ability to create mainroom friendly material, such as his recent remix of Damien Lazarus’ ‘Neverending’ with M.A.N.D.Y., more than counterbalanced by his penchant for contorted club tracks that are slanted towards a more niche market. His Dubs And Echoe Tales EP on Cadenza was almost provocatively inaccessible, a collection of sparse DJ tools seemingly crafted exclusively for the DJ market.

While his first release on Rekids, the Celi Dub EP, may initially seem similarly austere, this impression is somewhat deceptive. Alexkid has refined his sound down to the most essential elements on this release, with each of the three tracks underscored by deep, minimal layers evocative of Rekids main man Matt Edwards’ work as Radioslave. A-side ‘Celi Dub’ seems deliberately raw, with deep acidy synths swimming atop a murky bassline. Despite threatening to explode at any moment, such a climax ultimately proves elusive, with the promise of an extravagant drop, the sonic ‘money shot’ if you will, functioning to keep one tantalized for the full seven minutes. This understated approach is a common motif sustained throughout the EP, as deceptively simple structures mask the intricacy of each of the productions. ‘Mousseur Dub’ holds down a stripped-back groove while subtle elements are gradually introduced and distorted via reverb, while ‘Yonqui’ is a hypnotic 8-minute opus which affirms that this release has been crafted with the club environment firmly in mind; any of these tracks may fail to make a significant impact when played on your desktop speakers, but would almost certainly be met with a vastly contrasting response when played to a crowded room circa 5am (or on decent Bose headphones with a glass of scotch in hand for that matter!).

For all the technological tools and effects available to producers these days, the best dance tracks are often the most simple, and this is certainly evident on this latest offering from Alexkid, where the Frenchman demonstrates that less is often so much more.