Huxley: The Big Ting from Tring
Tring’s finest export since these guys and Graham Poll, deep house producer Huxley went from one-to-watch status to full-blown ‘Next Big Thing’ last year with his early 90s tinged, acid stomper ‘Shower Scene’ (below) being just about the most euphoric dancefloor weapon of 2011. Pretty much as far from ‘deep’ as you can get, it was a delicious slice of old school mayhem that never failed to put smiles on faces and get feet moving.
Huxley – aka Michael Dodman – took things back into deeper territory earlier this year with the imperious ‘Let It Go’ on Hypercolour (below) and confirmed his status as a truly talented producer. A soulful vocal wraps itself around a central, incessant three-note bassy synth line that buries its way into your head and body and, after just a minute, you never want it to leave. It’s a bona fide anthem for 2012, and is one of my favourite tracks of the year so far.
Last week, the ‘Out of The Box’ EP dropped on 2020 Vision, and is the sound of a man who has hit a serious run of form and, buoyed with confidence, can do no wrong right now. First of the three tracks (four on the digital release) is ‘Box Clever’ (below), a nice rolling house number that combines a timeless, jabbing piano line and thumping bass to excellent effect.
Next up is ‘Atonement’ (below) which carries itself with proper deep house swagger but hints at Huxley’s heritage in garage, which is, thankfully, no longer a dirty word in the UK nowadays thanks to the likes of Mosca, Jackmaster and Rinse FM reminding everyone how fun it was first time round.
‘Out of My Mind’ (below) is just really fucking lovely Balearic 2-step: blissed-out synths weave their way from up in the clouds over and around a fat, bumping bassline and punchy drums. Even the inclusion of the now seemingly obligatory high-pitched female vocal feels just right, even necessary, here.
‘Feel What You Want’ (below)- only available on the digital release – channels classic early Daft Punk and Alan Braxe and is happy to run and run, eventually taking you from the queue outside the club right into the action. It’s a nice addendum to a really strong set of tracks.
What’s so enjoyable about the EP as a whole is that it perfectly encapsulates what is so exciting about the nascent, genre-proof and constantly evolving dance scene in the UK right now. A whole raft of young producers from Joy Orbison to the Night Slugs and Numbers crews and beyond have been influenced by garage, house, techno, dubstep and everything in between and you can feel it in their DJ sets (just check Huxley’s recent mix for FACT, for example, which runs a full gamut of styles and genres in the course of an hour) and in their productions, many of which manage to sound both pioneering and classic at the same time.
Huxley’s tag as the ‘Next Big Thing’ is actually hugely misleading. Having DJ’d heavily in first garage and then deep house circles for over ten years, (he even came close to packing it all in last year) Huxley deserves success more than most. He now seems to have settled on a sound that he’s happy with, and it looks he’s having fun with it and finally making genuinely exciting music of his own. Not as boundary-pushing as many of his peers, perhaps, but who really cares when it’s as good as this?
If the stuff he’s released in the last year in particular is anything to go by, we can expect more big things from the ‘Big Ting from Tring*’ in the rest of 2012 and beyond.
*it’s a town in Hertfordshire, in case you were wondering – but, if there is any justice in the world, ‘Tring’ will soon become as ubiquitous an adjective in 2012 as ‘swag’ was in 2011.