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Addison Groove - Turn Up the Silence EP

Addison Groove continues to develop an energetic footwork-infused sound from across the Atlantic.

Additional Info

7.5

ALBUM: Turn Up the Silence EP

ARTIST: Addison Groove

2014

Electronic

Addison Groove, alias of producer Tony Williams, can take at least partial credit, if he’s being modest, for bringing the sound of juke and footwork to followers of UK bass. Previously working under the moniker Headhunter, Williams was already a heavyweight in the 2nd wave of dubstep, culminating his Headhunter output with the NomadM LP, an album pulsing with tech-infused rollers. However, his work as Headhunter ended during the time dubstep was taking a harder turn.

While American artists wracked the UK for ways to boost their dance tracks, Williams went against the current; finding a new outlook in the raw sounds of Chicago, his first track of note as Addison Groove was “Footcrab”, a crossover juke track that blends English aesthetics with American techniques. Williams says of “Footcrab”:

I wanted to make something that was a bridge tune, that could be mixed with other stuff—techno or dubstep or whatever—but that still had really recognizable elements of juke without it being a full on juke tune.
The song certainly made its impact—worked into sets in clubs and basements all over, audiences were suddenly introduced to a prolific and energetic US style through its UK interpretation.

This was all before the success of DJ Rashad’s Double Cup album on UK label Hyperdub, that mirrored Williams’ earlier transatlantic adventures, bringing attention back to the artists working in the US. A correlation seems to exist between Addison Groove and DJ Rashad, both having served as the footwork ambassadors of their respective locations. The two also worked together before the latter’s sudden passing, and a collaborative track on Addison’s latest offering is a reminder of footwork’s heritage and all the talent DJ Rashad brought to the scene.

Turn Up the Silence comes with the expected 808 bounce that Williams has become so known for. Songs burst with energy that spills over the edges of their generally restricted lengths—leaving out breaks that other artists regularly insert into their dance tracks. These creations vary from frantic footwork to a slowed down crossover style akin to “Footcrab”. Similarly, tracks utilize vocal samples in varied ways, from the sparsely edited chorus in “U Been Gone” to the percussive vocal-cutting in “Dat Ass”. Their sample-source also ranges and are a key element of the footwork sound that Addison is trying to cultivate. They add a slight touch of the human into distinctly inhuman rhythms, a different kind of energy to those distorted basses and frenetic percs. Williams is keyed into what each of these vocal samples bring to the a track and it comes out exquisitely, particularly on “U Been Gone” (ft. DJ Rashad) and “Push It”.

Overall much of the synth sounds and sampling could be described as retro—a throwback to a hazy early 90’s era, both of party hip-hop and of dance music. “Dat Ass” in particular feels like the clearest homage to bygone eras with its pitch-modded high horn stabs and shortly cut high-energy samples. Only “Masamune” seems a bit of an outlier in the album: cinematic and overwhelmed with samples that, as its title suggests, sound like a finely tuned Japanese sword slicing through a black-and-white movie screen. This cinematic quality sounds a bit like grime and ties to William’s earlier work as Headhunter. The drums don’t pound quite like footwork usually does, more the tightly coiled restraint of early dubstep. This grime influence is made more noticeable by Novelist’s recent track “Sniper,” that draws from the same cinematic sound—only dark clad gunmen with high-powered rifles inhabit Novelist’s track rather than ninjas (who are always darkly clad). “Masamune” though, is still distinctly a crossover from his former moniker, produced at footwork and juke’s fast-paced 160BPM.

Addison’s work is powerful as dancefloor pounders, and engaging enough to merit a less physical listening. Utilizing a variety of styles and influences, Williams is able to construct high-energy tracks that do justice both to their UK bass roots and their footwork aspirations.

“You been gone… Don’t wanna do wrong”

1. Dat Ass
From pulsing synth chords and tension-building, highly-resonate percussion, “Dat Ass” flings itself into a madly percussive retro banger. The drum samples often sound slightly more drum ‘n’ bass than footwork, though the rhythmic patterns are certainly more akin to the US style. Some clicks and whistles, some bumps and yells—about all you need for a decent dance track.7.0
2. U Been Gone
Beginning with a filtered down rhythmic synth, accompanied by some submarine pings, “U Been Gone” balances some lower energy sampling (using a Gladys Knight and the Pips track that lends the collaboration its name) and chopped up percussive vocals to add to the frenetic feel of the track. Perhaps the last release we’ll hear from Rashad, this track assures listeners that the torch of Chicago footwork will continue to burn far beyond the city limits.8.0
3. Push It
“Push It” might be the best use of the 90’s party rap sampling in the album. Something about the “Push It” sample, along with some of the other sonic selections (personally a big fan of the “yeeaaa” sample as well) create a happy energy that is infectious. This effect is amplified by the syncopated retro synths and the bass drum to which their rhythm is tightly tied.8.5
4. Masamune
From the outset one can tell “Masamune” is a different sort of track. When most of the other tracks could be described as having—for lack of a better word—a ghetto feel (i.e. ghetto house), the track’s seeming sino-grime influence is interesting. Samples provide intriguing sonic layers, from sword sounds to one percussive vocal sample that sounds something like Wario (if someone has insight into that particular choice, please let me know).7.0
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