It’s Saturday night, and you’re feeling a bit too adult to go out clubbing until dawn, but way too young to stay at home and do nothing.
Smooth Situations is the perfect kind of music for a weekend full of adventures and secrets – it has a laid-back groove that invites you into its mystery, without giving too much away. This is great news for people who like dance music, without necessarily wanting to dance all the time.
There’s no denying that this 7-track offering – half EP, half album – sits exactly in the middle of the the genre that so typified netlabels during that early rush of 2005 and 2006.
These tracks are full of elements of lounge, dubstep, and even a bit of glitch here and there. Spoken and sung vocal samples abound, some not dissimilar to Burial’s early work. There’s even some remnants of trip-hop, and the result is a very relaxed, very grown-up dance groove that’s perfect for driving to a friend’s party.
The grooves are steady throughout the album, which is great for cohesion, but not so great when trying to pick a favourite track. Most of these netlabel releases make an effort to put the strongest tracks near the beginning, and I have to admit that “Kyoto Street Café” does stand out for me, with its record crackles and unapologetic synthy rhythms. But then again, I also dig the subtle funk of “Can You Hear It?”, which happens to be the very last track. There’s something about that jazzy bass that gets me every time.
I wouldn’t go all-out and say that this is the sort of album you’d sit down to listen to specifically, but it’s certainly great to put on while you’re doing something else, and it’s definitely perfect to set a mood of sensuality on a night where you plan on hanging out with friends over a few or more drinks. If you have access to a velvet sofa and a Tiffany lamp or two, all the better.
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