If you've been even the most casual participant in or observer of the NYC dance music and club scene over the past decade, you've most definitely encountered Luca Venezia, a.k.a. Curses, who once was better known as Drop the Lime, a central figure in the Trouble & Bass crew. Where DTL was all stripped and chewed dubstep and grime, Curses is clearly of a house bent, albeit one that's been cut with plenty of heavy bass, breakbeat-leaning drums, and a frantic energy that one wouldn't find on classic Chicago 12”s.
As a longtime friend and fellow New Yorker, it was only a matter of time until we came together for a record. The resultant EP—which is called Bark in the Dark and serves as a sort of unofficial companion to Curses' recent release on our sister label, Throne of Blood—is equal parts unabashed cheese, hands-in-the-air euphoria, and bone-chilling witchcraft. The title track is a tongue-in-cheek, sax-laden stomper that chugs along for nearly eight minutes, the first three of which tantalizingly build to what can only be described as a nasty drop. A remix by Glasgow's Naum Gabo (J.G. Wilkes of Optimo fame and James Savage, who released an EP on LPH in 2011) fills out the A-side. It's an explosive reimagination that seems to have been constructed from stems spiked with Rohypnol, acid, and a touch of ketamine. If Curses' O.G. rendering is Krusty the Clown, N.G.'s tweak is Sideshow Bob; an antagonistic, malicious, schizophrenic bundle bound by paranoid rage.
The flip finds Curses shifting gears and exploring the dark corners of the smokey, strobe-sprinkled basement megaclub you might see him playing “Bark” in. “Eyes on You” is a creepy crawler, a house cut that's built around a slinky yet haunting keyboard line and drums that have so much swagger and punch to them that they seem drunk off their own confidence and assurance. “Need You” is a bit peppier and squarer, but not by much. In lieu of the Twilight Zone-lifted melodies in “Eyes,” there's a plethora of pads you'd be likely to find in choice Balearic tunes and beats that also feel straight out of the late 90s, but the whole thing is constructed and arranged with such cheer and given a bass-rooted modern spin that it's impossible to not shuffle along to it, start to finish.
Published: 19th June 2014