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Leon Vynehall: Gold Language/Don’t Know Why

There have been a remarkable number of young producers entering the house game over the last couple of years, but with his sophomore release on George Fitzgerald’s ManMakeMusic imprint, Brighton-based Leon Vynehall is starting to pull further ahead of the pack. His debut EP, Mauve, on Well Rounded, was a likeable but somewhat predictable collection of house tracks referencing vintage sounds with acid sweeps and deep chords, but in final track Picture Frame there was a hint of something different and more interesting in the retro-fetishism. Relaxed vibes and a strong groove produced an intensely likeable and catchy tune, and here Vynehall has stepped his production up a notch, resulting in an utterly infectious and current take on the UK house scene.

These tracks are darker, dustier, and more unpredictable than those on Vynehall’s debut EP, and the A-side is the stunner here. Gold Language combines an unusual selection of melodic elements but pulls them off with unexpected style and class. Textured percussive clicks and twitches underlie mournful yet jazzy keys, before a venomous bass growl introduces the track-proper; a rich and tech-y field of different percussive effects that work together in a perfect, shuffling harmony. Add those deep chords and the back-and-forth synth sweeps that occupy the second half of the track and you’re left with a different and memorable tune that would fit snugly in all manner of DJ mixes and styles. Gang Colours takes a typically melodic, sensual approach to the remix; offering a new take richly textured with dusty piano melodies and woodblock percussion. It’s dreamy and effective, but unlikely to get too much playtime when compared to the ace original mix.

B-side Don’t Know Why is a straighter affair, with a pitched-down vocal taking centre stage over aching Rhodes chords and a bouncing bassline. Yet again it’s the details here which surprise and impress: the eerie whistling effect making an appearance just before the 2-minute mark, the subtle additions to the shifting drum patterns or the decayed sirens that clear out the soundfield. These nuanced additions result in an intriguing listen which, while not quite as necessary as the A-side, still proves a welcome addition. For anyone looking to put their finger directly on the pulse of the intersection between the current UK bass and house scenes, look no further than Leon Vynehall’s stellar second outing, an infectious pair of tunes that retain a rare class and style.