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Nebraska – Displacement review

The arrival of Nebraska’s Displacement on Rush Hour is rich rewards for the Amsterdam based emporium’s faith in the producer’s clear talent. The label invested in properly releasing several EPs worth of music from Nebraska’s early days which were destined for MVE obscurity, having either gone out of print or failing to make it past the promo stage before the label folded. Both of those releases, Satellite Variations and Terrestrial Variations, demonstrated a canny melding of glistening disco elements with a rough, hewn approach to crafting house and techno rhythms – a near perfect fit on the RH release schedule.

In the subsequent new releases the producer – real name Ali Gibbs – has delivered for Rush Hour, this approach has been refined and improved upon, with the most notable example being his recent, and to date only, remix – of “Full Disco Jacket” by The Carter Brothers – which expertly added some snap to the beat and stretched out the brass hook with aplomb. Displacement arrives first on vinyl, brandishing eight all new Nebraska jams aimed at rewarding those who have already invested in Four For Four & A Weekend On My Own, the two RH twelves whose tracks will fill out the subsequent CD and digital release later this year.

Taking this into consideration, it’s perhaps best not to judge the eight tracks here on their merits as an album-shaped narrative, and instead focus on their potency. Furthermore, there’s always a danger in casting a critical eye on an electronic album’s success in delivering a similar kind of traditional LP shaped journey as a band.  Whilst the final digital and compact versions of Displacement will make for adequate headphone fodder, Nebraska’s music is first and foremost geared for spaces with big speaker stacks and sweaty bodies.

Thus Displacement delivers an instantly rewarding urgency in sound from the very first moments of “Allahad” which deviates in feel, mood and tempo throughout until the last moment on the final track “Characteristics”. Here loose, pitch shifted floating keys and scuttering percussion permeates the sumptuous bed of Mid West chords. There is plenty to retian the interest in the six tracks sandwiched between across the two slabs of vinyl. “Phtalo Blues” operates from a similar template to the aforementioned Carter Brothers remix, but cranks up the pressure on the filtered strings to way past thirty, letting them smash you in the guts with their intensity.

Elsewhere “Aitch Aitch” shows restraint, slowly graduating from the moodiness of its early moments into a track that compels via the rising chord shimmers and gentle piano tones. Tracks such as “You & I” and “The Cruives” expertly weave vocal samples into the Nebraska equation, with their hazy treatment lending the productions an subtle dash of hypnosis. “Patina” could quite easily transpose itself to the Direct Current series alongside the likes of Cosmin TRG and FaltyDL, its jagged placement of urgent synths and unannounced arrival of heaving chords amidst the click clack of loose drums marking it out as a real highlight on an album filled with them.

Tony Poland