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Kevin McPhee – Sleep review

Let’s hope that Canadian producer Kevin McPhee can avoid falling into the trap that so many promising producers are guilty of. McPhee received  a lot of praise earlier this year for his debut release, Get In With You on [Naked Lunch]. Let’s hope that he can learn a lesson from other upcoming producers, who having enjoyed a brief taste of recognition and decide to rush out a slew of identikit releases in a short space of time, effectively alienating those who had found their first few steps so endearing. It speaks in McPhee’s favour that his music could never be described as ‘big room’ or ‘peak time’.

Instead, he prefers to follow a path where subtlety and creating an atmosphere are at a premium. It certainly sounds that way on the title track: over a pared back groove, he layers atmospheric textures that are both haunting and curiously upbeat. This is the strength of  McPhee’s approach –  his sound is both involved and understated, complex and at the same time brilliant in its simplicity. “House 44” follows a similar path, but is more lo-fi sounding, as wave upon wave of hissing percussion is fused with stuttering vocal samples, woozy atmospherics and doubled-up beats. It’s in keeping with McPhee’s idiosyncratic seduction techniques – something that on the evidence of  Sleep, will be with us for a long time to come.

Richard Brophy