I wuv Horsepower Productions
so much I could listen to them all day tra la la. Seriously though, this morning on the way to uni I was listening to a 2-step/breaks mix from about a year ago and the one-two punch of Horsepower's "One You Need" and 2 Banks Of 4's "Hook & A Line (Zed Bias Mix)" really bowled me over with their essential goodness. Horsepower especially - such achingly crisp syncopation, such suffocatingly delicate dub bass, such threatening quietude.
Reynolds came up with "murderous slickness" to describe the deceptive sweetness of Artful Dodger's "Rewind", but I think it now better applies to Horsepower's stuff, which has that same rudeboy-in-gentleman's-clothing panache but replaces the Dodger's pop-savvy with aristocratic refinement, the impossibly wired groove smoothly gliding from measure to measure with an eerily disjointed grace currently matched only by microhouse (from which HP seem to take their cues anyway). Next to this stuff, the furrow-browed abstraction of Darqwan seems terribly heavyhanded (though, that said, new tune "Elevate"
is his best in a while). In terms of strict musical stylistic heritage, Horsepower Productions are the natural successors to Dem 2: listen to tracks like "One You Need, "Fists Of Fury", "Get Dirty" and "Smoking", and it becomes clear that what both acts share (add a "-d" for Dem 2) is a taste for only the most succulent of mindfucks - their beats would seem spastic if they weren't so slinky, their bass rude if it wasn't so sensual.
It's relieving then to discover that, despite evidence of a distressing/inevitable downturn of dark atmospheric 2-step into sludgy misanthropic noir-excursions, Horsepower haven't lost their genteel sensibilities. On new track "Classic Delux" (from their forthcoming September album - yay!) they manage to transform the practically de rigeur
soca beat - that bastion of roughneck sensibility - into a sinuously shuffling web of delicate beats, skipping across warmly glowing jazz chords and softly cavernous bass rumbles like Farben at a Carribean sunset party. Still confidently tiptoeing the tightrope between violence and refinement, Horsepower Productions remain the pre-eminent practitioners of murda muzak.