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Kowton & Tom Dicicco – Untitled review

Two different but compatible interpretations of underground house and techno feature on this latest Project Squared release. The common bond is the absence of track titles – perhaps a reference to the slew of anonymous techno releases of recent years –  but that’s where the similarities between Kowton and Tom Dicicco’s “Untitled” tracks end.

First up it’s Dicicco’s contribution, a rolling dubby groove underpinned by doubled up claps and subtle yet effective filtering. Its strength rests on its ability to integrate elements of Chicago jack and the cheeky swagger of late 90s London tech-house. By contrast, Kowton’s “Untitled” is more distinctive. The Bristol producer also borrows from familiar sources; there are slowly arcing acid lines and a repetitive ‘you make’ vocal sample  –  which sounds very like the one used on Spooky’s progressive house anthem “Land of Oz”  – but the synths swirl about in such a haunting manner and the beats are so heavy that the end result is truly different.

Kowton proves his mettle again with his take on Dicicco’s “Untitled”. The arrangement is more stripped back, but it achieves the same effect with less, as its humming bass and lead-heavy beats bring Dicicco’s groove back to a mid-tempo rumble. Dicicco then brings the release back to where it started with his version of Kowton’s “Untitled”. Filters sweep in over a dense, tracky rhythm as percussive ticks and claps show that while Dicicco may not be operating at the outer limits like Kowton, his understanding of underground dance music is second to none.

Richard Brophy