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Paul Woolford: Untitled

How does one approach a review of a 12”, and one track especially, whose reputation precedes it so exceptionally as this, Paul Woolford’s latest for Hotflush?

If you look back at the label’s recent discography, it’s interesting to note the gradual shift to a noticeably more big room sound, aided of course by Scuba’s own stylistic transitions, be it with house (George Fitzgerald, Locked Groove) or techno (Dense & Pika, South London Ordnance). The trend is continued and then some by Woolford on ‘Untitled’.

Let’s get all the hyperbole out of the way first. Already professed to be the track of the summer by big dogs such as Jackmaster, Bicep and Skream, and eulogised by just about everyone else to the nth degree, the usually leftfield Woolford has gone head first for the dancefloor jugular with this juggernaut of an a-side.

If you look at it from a basic perspective, ‘Untitled’ contains all of your classic house tropes – a killer piano riff, a shamelessly bouncy bassline, stomping claps and an infectious vocal sample taken from Switch’s 2011 hit ‘I Still Love You’, with the simple refrain of ‘I’m gonna call your name I’m immune to pain’. It’s tight, enjoyable and ticks all of the boxes you’d expect it to.

The b-side ‘Overload’ is much more of what we’ve come to expect from a Woolford release. Restless jabs here and there with hints of his classic jungle textures and eerie low end 8-bit, it’s a far more challenging proposition to submerge yourself into. Whilst the a-side has undoubtedly been produced to soundtrack those heady sunshine parties in Croatia, ‘Overload’ is more for those dark Thursday nights at Plastic People with the bass reverberating from the floor and ceiling.

As with most of these things, the more complex offering here is the more rewarding, but as far as a sheer sugar rush and cheap thrills go, then you can’t really go wrong with ‘Untitled’.