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Linkwood - System

LINKWOOD - SYSTEM (Prime Numbers)

 The current vogue in dance music right now seems to be the search forthat much sought aesthetic, authenticity. And it’s being explored by a new generation of producers in the roots of the genre, namely the murky region of post-disco that emanated from the US and Europe in the early 80’s. Rules were thrown out of the window here, as producers moved away from big studio themes to more internalised productions, utilising the new technology made available to them. Experimentation and exploration was the name of the game. 

Nick Moore’s Linkwood project doesn’t make any bones about its debt to this time, steeping this release in the italo-drenched funk of influences such as International Music System, Class Action, Hashim and early windy city protohouse.  The focus is on the dancefloor, and as such all 9 tracks are straight up workouts, each with their own character. “Robot Parade” mixes early NYC electro with vocoders alongside IMS style percussion, whilst “Tears” utilises Prelude-esque disco flourishes for a slow-burning jam. It’s all executed with the hand of someone with standout production skills, but deep down it’s hard to find something that marks it as having its own identity. “Falling” in particular sucks in all the very best aspects of 80’s funk right down to the reverb on the vocals, whilst “Electricity” is so drenched in Chicago house that one half expects to hear a Prescription record next. 

This lush replication of such styles always sits uneasily with me, as I find slick production offputting when it is executed in a manner like this. Whilst there is much to admire on the album in terms of composition and the broad range of genres reproduced in a way that doesn’t fail to make Moore a producer to look out for, it’s a shame that originality has to be sacrificed. And sadly the turn to Berlin for the last 2 tracks sees Moore wheel out the dub echo for more Basic Channel-style techno with the album’s title track that unfortunately comes 10 years too late.  It seems such a shame that such skill and attention to detail can be used for slaving over what has already been and gone. If you want an album that can sit easily alongside tracks from that era, then “System” is a powerful tool, but it’s not much more than that.


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