Having relocated to Brooklyn during 2014 after living in New Zealand for more than a decade, electronic producer and DJ Matthew Chicoine (aka Recloose) has certainly been living up to his name over the last few years. Indeed, this debut 12” EP on Aus Music ‘Honey Rocks’ offers up his first new material in three years, with three new tracks that see Chicoine finally breaking his apparently self-imposed “production intermission.” For the most part the emphasis falls upon soulful productions with a definite nod towards classic house influences, though there’s a noticeably more streamlined and pared down feel compared to some of Recloose’s previous work.
Opening title track ‘Honey Rocks’ powers forward against a warm funk bassline, rolling batucada percussion fills and darting liquid synths, but there’s a vaguely unsettling undertone to the ghostly treated vocals that float in the background at points that adds a welcome dark edge to the echoing handclaps. ‘On & On’ meanwhile sends the sampled title phrase echoing out against skipping broken-beat house rhythms that add a vaguely garage-y undertone to a hypnotic phased synthline, whilst managing to squeeze a soulful vocal breakdown in there halfway through, in what’s easily the most subliminally grooving moment on offer here. On the flipside, ‘Sidewalks’ takes things out with this EP’s warmest and most disco-infused moment, as jazzy horns and delayed-out backing vocals glide atop spidery house snares and kickdrums, while a nicely blunted bass line heightens the sense of hazy funk. As a first taster of Recloose’s post-hiatus work, ‘Honey Rocks’ provides a more than welcome return.