Label: Fifth Wall
Release Date: 19/02/2013
Case (Nabis) may comprise only the first official release for Brooklyn based Nico Jacobsen aka Hound Scales, however I’d be extremely surprised if the the release were his first foray into dancefloor production. Amalgamating gristly techno with raw, oddball house, the release suggests Jacobsen has devoted his time working on several different genre’s before resolving on the sound found in this EP.
Tracks such as ‘Black Bile (Dog Star)’ or ‘Storyville (Too Young for The Devil)’ focus themselves on the fierce, rugged style of techno recently popularised by the likes of Blawan, Shifted or Clouds. Hound Scales’ grating, machine like percussion creates a brooding atmospheric undercurrent through the EP, despite the tracks remaining largely dancefloor functional.
The same confrontational percussion is also to be found in the EP’s more melodically led cuts, which in my opinion withstand repeated listenings better than the purely rhythmic ones. Title track ‘Case (Nabis)’ feels partially indebted to someone like South London Ordnance through its incorporation of grime tinged bass lines and twisted vocals samples, yet stands apart with Jacobsen’s use of deeper house textures, and dusty rhythms. The last of Hound Scales originals ’Surrender Dorothy’ returns to this approach, blending discordant bleeps with ominous blasts of distorted bass and jacking crumpled four to the floor beats.
The three remixes that conclude the EP do more than justice to the originals, and do a good job of representing the diversity found in Hound Scales originals. Contributions come from Ghost On Tape, Isolated Lines & Sheffield based Stray Landings favourite, The Weald, each exploiting their own niche through the remixes. Ghosts On Tape partially tames ‘Case (Nabis)’ with deep chimes, and a more regimented rhythmic structure. Isolated Lines and The Weald instead tilt their respective interpretations to more industrial tones; Isolated Lines take on ‘Stasis Flexi (Homme Plus) is dubby and atmospheric, whilst The Weald’s reduces the madness of ‘Black Bile (Dog Star)’, to a sinister, droning slab of Perc-style warehouse techno.
All in all Case (Nabis) punches well above its weight both for the first release of Hound Scales, and incidentally the first release of the producers fledgling label - Fifth Wall.