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Casey Tucker: Knoe 2/2

Earlier this year, East London’s Boe Recordings sprouted sister-label For Those That Knoe. By their own discogs definition, the offshoot is “a House and Techno label from the UK focusing on under the radar tracks recorded by unsung heroes.” Plucking from obscurity the hitherto largely unknown Jaime Read (as L.H.A.S) and Casey Tucker to produce the first two releases, the definition certainly holds. And judging from those first two EPs, it sounds like they’ve unearthed a couple of gems. Now into November, we’re all set for the third – and Tucker’s second – release on the label.

Perhaps fittingly – given the label’s preference for artists from an earlier decade – Tucker furnishes this release with soundscapes that are unashamedly moulded from ’90s tech-house and techno. Operating at an incessant speed, ‘Tanita’ is ruthless acid funk with a slickness and tenacity. Here, melodies slide and weave with consummate ease between soaring pads and sizzling hats. Its slippery basslines even evoke the more accessible cuts from Drexciya. But unlike these famous residents of the Motor City, Tucker’s destination is not the bottom of the deep ocean. The re-released cut ‘Stratosphere’ does exactly what it says: propelling us somewhere unworldly with tropospheric synthscapes that shroud the track in an ethereal haze.

This vinyl-only release will earn a wide selection of admirers for its democratic four-to-the-floor rhythmic underpinning and Tucker’s sensuous synth work. But it is the release’s anarchic percussion and agitated basslines – most evident on ‘Secret Desires’ when the phased synth patterns collapse – that should really strike a chord with the discerning listener. This, as the ‘Innovator’ Derrick May has articulated, is High-Tech Soul: crafted by a producer whose underground sound is as appealing as it is stylistically expressive and distinct.

Winter’s well on its way, and with its cool and crisp layers of luminescent melodies and pads, Knoe 2/2 certainly soundtracks the beginning of these colder climes. But don’t let that lull you into thinking that this would struggle to cause havoc in clubs up and down the country. As the latter stages of ‘Secret Desires’ attest, Tucker’s most recent slab of black plastic packs the heat, too.