Artist: James Harcourt
Title: Moob
Label: Baroque Records
By: Carleton Neil | 6 January 2009
  • A: Original Mix
  • B: Quivver 'Moob Deep' Mix

James Harcourt "Moob"James Harcourt "Moob"

Out Now on Baroque Records

Any connoisseur of James Harcourt's musical portfolio is presented with a problem should someone ask them what his music sounds like. The only honest way to respond is with a question: 'Which track?' Does the dark and chunky nature of 'The Trinity' fully flesh out his repertoire? What about the cerebral acid lines of 'Invasion' or the stop'n'shift percussion of 'Tease'? Could we ignore the sexy grooves of current favourite 'Call & Response'? The short answer to all of those questions is 'no'. One James Harcourt track could never explain his style, although his extensive layering of sounds, respect for the bottom-end of a track and penchant for high repetition would be a good place to start. All of which probably explains why he's grabbed the attention of one Progressive-Sounds favourite whose name is practically synonymous with progressive house: Quivver, on board as remixer for 'Moob', the latest single on Baroque Records.

Harcourt's Original Mix is difficult to bat down; the beginning of the track will leave you wondering if he's bound and gagged a turkey next to the studio mic, but in its first half-breakdown the track flips a switch, drops the bassline into place and chugs out into a bit of melody, careening by a lone cheeky stab of synth and sustained ones that groan eerily with increasing intensity. The track reaches full speed when the bassline turns monotone and the squabbling fills align, and in the breakdown all sounds swirl together like a tangled derailed mess before busting through the climax and then slowly losing steam in the track's final exit.

Starting with an interesting variety of sounds can only lead you to an equally eclectic remix, and that's exactly what to expect from Quivver's 'Moob Deep' remix. The clucking claps and purring fills open up to quiet wailing and dark swoops beneath a bumbling kick and a tight snare. The squawking from the original has been chopped up and brushed with echo, and like some of Quivver's classic progressive house sounds, this remix is not pre-dominated by melodics; the morphology applied to the sustained synths and fills create the motion in this remix. One sole synth creates space in the breakdown, until the rest of the track moves to the exit, sparsed with fills that mark phrases along the way.

Releases aren't often simultaneously described as 'dark', 'cheeky', and 'squabbling', but with 'Moob' James Harcourt has used a whole swath of his musical template to create this track. A gateway to the sounds of his other work, that is perhaps what this release might be best for, unless your set list is as equally eccentric. Quivver's remix is an excellent complement to the original, providing something a little more traditional and focusing its scope. If 'Moob' and James Harcourt's past releases prove to be any indication of his future work, it will definitely be worth keeping an ear out. 'Moob' is out now on Baroque Records.

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