The emerging talent of Subb-an is ushered into the Culprit fold for the label’s eleventh release. An extended member of the Culprit clan in spirit and through his associations with Hot Natured and Matt Tolfrey's Leftroom, the young lad from Birmingham clearly shares, much like his UK brother-in-arms Jamie Jones, Culprit's quintessential moody funk-infused sensibility.
His debut EP for Culprit, ‘What I Do’ is a statement of intent for a man with a definite interest in exploring the soulful and playful edges of house and techno. ‘What I Do’ has been slaying discerning dancefloors for months, blending strong Chicago house roots with the polished warmth that LA-based Culprit has come to embody, but never forgetting darker clubbier atmospherics.
Subb-an first broke through in 2008, with a residency at his hometown’s clubbing bastion, Below; he’s been increasingly active on the studio front in the last two years, following his initial releases on Immigrant and Leftroom with a growing catalog of recordings and remixes for Bpitch Control, Hypercolour, Mothership, Trapez Ltd, and 2020 Vision Recordings, as well as his own One Records, a collaboration with Below founder Adam Shelton. Clearly a young man on the rise at age 24 (much like young man responsible for the label's current release - M A N I K, 25) Subb-an already possesses a clarity of intent and style that belies his youth, and makes his decision to seek out and create music for Culprit all the more exciting.
“This is what I do. And I’ll be good to you.”
So announces the vocal sample on Subb-an’s A Side ‘What I Do’ and indeed it’s a simple statement that packs a tremendous punch in the capable hands of Subb-an. ‘What I Do’ is a stand-out, as much of a floor-slayer as anything yet on the label. Its components are infectious in their uncluttered effectiveness, yet highly sophisticated in terms of production. Punchy clap-driven drums, a repetitive bassline that never tires, and a teasing vocal that builds and keeps tension high in the first half before releasing mightily halfway through, aided by superb warm synth stabs. This is a true take-notice breakdown of uplifting quality - a road-tested, bona-fide hands-in-the-air moment (just ask Jamie Jones, Droog, Clive Henry or Subb-an himself).
"My Slang" is playful, with a similarly catchy, but more upbeat bassline, that keeps the track rolling throughout. In addition to his fantastic use of disembodied vocal bits, which are practically a Culprit hallmark by now, Subb-an sticks to his innate sense of dynamics, steadily building steam, to let it out and build up again. A guaranteed energy picker-upper, catalyst if you will, in any house set. Full of its own small peaks and valleys, the track is never too obvious, but is always moving and grooving.
"No More" features vocals of Subb-an's young collaborator LOiS. Essentially a deep house track but with strong, Chicago-house inspired drums and warm pads that give the track that smooth early evening vibe. Focus is clearly on the dancefloor yet again, as the track lets its subtle electronic bassline get going half-way through, with the classic-sounding female vocal wrapping itself around it. Perfect warm-up set standout, with layers of implied soul.
Published: 5th November 2010