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Ara U / Radioactive Man - The Houghton Blues EP (No Static / Automatic)

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Forthcoming on No Static / Automatic, the labels third offering, The Houghton Blues EP. A four track EP from the labels head honcho Mr Ara U and none other than Radioactive Man!

No Static / Automatic is a relatively new label from Venezuelan born, London Based producer and DJ, Ara U. The label has two releases under its belt so far from the main man himself, and let me just say right now - both very much worth checking out, as are his other productions. His bio across various online platforms states ‘His sound is characterised by raw analogue pure machine funk’ - this is most definitely true. His career started in the late 90’s where he was a key figure in bringing the rave scene to his home country. Using a hybrid set up, incorporating vinyl, synths and fx he was already pushing boundaries back then and has gone from strength to strength over the years honing his production skills. He has already worked with Radioactive Man on the awesome Plastic Attack EP on his Asking For Trouble imprint. Support for Ara U reads like a who's who of my favourite artists - Radioactive Man, Jerome Hill, Ben Pest, Posthuman and Dbridge to name a few.

Radioactive man aka Keith Tenniswood needs little introduction, uber talented producer, wicked DJ, highly respected mastering engineer at Curvepusher, and all round just lovely human. I was lucky enough to catch a recent live set performance from him at the epic Fold nightclub in Canning Town (amazing club by the way) for the Cartulis party (awesome promoters, wicked parties, lovely crew). It was mind blowing, honestly not just one of the best live sets I've seen, but just one of the best things I've seen. Simply incredible.

The EP Kicks off with Sounds Like prince. I’d say it sounds more like Radioactive Man and Ara U. A relentless driving bass with generous helpings of funk fill my headphones. Precise electro beat and percussion follow, clinical and clean yet full of dirty funk. Another synth/bassline comes in briefly before the break comes in, then wonky stabs, distant delays, feedback and fx disorient the mind before the relentless electronic funk kicks back in. Pure fire for the dance floor.

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A2 is titled Machines Chit Chat. A solid no nonsense electro beat starts the track off. Very quickly, soft melodic chords talk to a worm like acid line. This progresses, develops, and evolves in the most marvelous way. Basically it's like eavesdropping on a conversation between equipment in a studio after the artists have gone home, Toy Story style, only it's not Buzz Lightyear, Woody and the gang (I’ve got kids, and have no control over the TV, sorry) its Classic drum machines, synths, 303’s and who knows what else incessantly, excitingly chit chatting away. Astounding.

On to the B side. What Happened to the Stash. Heavy and fast electro beat. Swirling, fx laden synths sweep in and out. An absolute beast of a rolling bassline, bubbles deeply underneath, urgently driving the track forward. The breakdown. Oh my god. Goosebumps. Proper dancefloor business. Just. Keeps. Building. Epic!

Last but not least. The Houghton Blues, the title track. Again, solid bassy electro kick and percussion. Off kilter distant keys weave around the beat. A more melancholic affair, but not without a generous helping of pure electro funk. Expert programming and production from two masters, I close my eyes and can picture myself at Houghton, up the front, the sun coming up, my mates around me and this reverberating around the field, stage, tent, lake and my mind… Not long now!

Ara U - absolute beast, love his tunes. Radioactive Man - master, one of the all time greats. This EP has woven their styles together perfectly. They compliment and play off each other throughout and every track is a killer. For me, hands down, my favourite release of the year so far.

Reviewed By: Matt Sever