San Francisco-based electronic producer / DJ Dave Aju has spent the last 13 years releasing a prolific rate of material on labels including Compost and Circus Company, and from his 2003 debut album ‘Open Wide’ onwards he’s had a penchant for building his tracks around samples of his own manipulated vocals. This latest 12” EP for Matthew Herbert’s Accidental label ‘Boom Yeah’ certainly holds up this stylistic trend, with the four tracks here being inspired by chant like incantations taken from three different volcanic islands, La Reunion, Maui and Bali.
In many senses lead track ‘Boom Yeah’ offers up this EP’s most stripped-down and eerie moment as minimalist percussive rhythms rattle against a vaguely unsettling wordless vocal refrain, the entire track calling to mind some occult fireside island ceremony as muted bass pads rumble in the background. By comparison, Matthew Herbert’s dub of the same track injects a bit more thump into the trunk, sending a juddering off-centre house pulse rolling against buzzing gamecore synths and chaotic cartoon-style squeals, the original vocals seemingly straining to be heard amidst the densely packed elements.
It’s with the B-sides here though that the real dancefloor-centred tracks arrive. ‘Haleakala’ delves closer to deep Chicago house styles as an insistent wasp-like fluctuating synth line clings tightly to clicking 808 toms and thumping 4/4 kickdrums while Aju’s own wordless vocal harmonies introduce an element of late night soul, before ‘Badai’ introduces some of the heaviest dancefloor grooves here as a deep bassline cycles hypnotically against rattling shaker percussion and massed vocal harmonies, the rhythms seeming to power away beneath an ever darkening sky. Well worth checking out.