Lovefingers’ ESP Institute label seems to deal in darkness and light. Check many of the label’s immaculately presented releases, and you will find this contrast cropping up time and time again. Compare, for example, the bleak but weirdly beautiful darkness of the two Shocks EPs with Young Marco’s blissfully Balearic “Darwin”, or the chugging K-hole vibes of Spectral Empire’s recent Soft Rocks rework with the glistening goodness of 2010’s Cos/Mes album, Gomez Land.
It is, of course, intentional; Lovefingers has previously spoken of his desire to ensure that the label releases music that provides a soundtrack to both day and night. Occasionally, that day/night split can be found on one 12”. That was certainly the case with Michael Ozone’s overlooked 2011 release, Perfect Systems, which contrasted the spooky, voodoo-inspired horror-disco of the title track with the gorgeous, sunset vibes of “Hetrotopia”, a hypnotic exercise in ice-white melodies and off-beat hits.
That day and night contrast is not quite so noticeable on this long-promised partner 12”, but the juxtaposition of dark and light is still clear. In recruiting Steve Summers, a producer with a history of producing particularly sharp analogue deep house and raw analogue jackers, and Young Marco, ESP’s own woozy Balearic house maestro, Lovefingers has set his stall out. Clearly, he wanted new club revisions that compliment Ozone’s originals, while retaining the dark and light contrast.
Predictably, both have delivered. Summers steps up first, adding new levels of authentic spookiness to the paranoid creepiness of “Pefect Systems”. Giving more weight to the original’s springy bassline, he delivers a bouncy analogue house jam that somehow manages to be both blindingly light and formidably grimy. This is largely due to the prominence given to bittersweet melodies and chords that shimmy between the speakers like a gurning Jack Nicholson in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. It’s pretty trippy, but beautifully simple at the same time.
Young Marco’s rework of “Hetrotobia” is, if anything, more revolutionary. Blessed with clanking drum machine beats that sound like they’ve come straight out of the early ‘80s industrial funk manual, his version moves from stand-offish spookiness to crystalline beauty in the blink of an eye. Of course, he has the original’s lovingly crafted melodies to play with – he uses them wisely, for the record – but it’s still an impressive shift. Maintaining beauty while creeping people out is a hard trick to pull off, but the Dutch producer achieves it with aplomb. Like many ESP Institute releases, Perfect Systems – Remixed is simultaneously exactly what you’d expect, and full of unexpected twists. It’s this surprise element – not to mention the continued quality of the music – that makes ESP Institute so consistently fascinating.
1. Perfect Systems (Steve Summers remix)
2. Hetrotopia (Young Marco remix)