May 27, 2011
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Blondes - Lover (Original Mix) [RVNG Intl.]
Blondes - Hater (Original Mix) [RVNG Intl.]

After making serious waves with their debut EP on Merok last year, New York duo Blondes were snapped up by RVNG Intl. who have been working with them on a highly-anticipated series of conceptual EPs to be released throughout 2011. Lover/Hater is the first in this series–a pair of sumptuous, moody house dreamscapes that showcase the pair’s ability at fusing classic sounds with cutting-edge production.

Lover opens with sparkling synth undulations reminiscent of a bygone era stuffed with melotrons and Moog synthesizers. After twinkling for a while, they start to feed off the energy of spry, punchy percussion, the result being a wonderful sort of ephemeral groove. Everything gets rather tribal towards the end, with unearthly chanting thrown into the mix and urgency added to the drums. This creates a real contrast with the first half of the track. Hater has no such pretensions, the music darker and thicker from the outset. Those familiar oscillating synths, now glittering only dully, blend with faded keys to form a swamp, the mire penetrated only by seismic kicks and a classic 808 which shimmers over the second half.

The sounds and ideas Blondes use here could easily have ended up sluggish in the hands of less talented producers, mainly because their slow building astral grooves generally lack dominant melodies. Blondes’ real achievement is how well the impressive dynamism present in the straight 4/4 beats infuses through the rest of the elements, making what could have just been pleasant background music something altogether more compelling.

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