The hinterland that separates bass music and house has provided us with some of the most instantly recognizable records of the last few years, and few have done more to map out this vital new territory than Peter O’Grady as the inimitable Joy Orbison. His knack for fusing elements plucked from all corners of the dance spectrum with vocal hooks that lend his tracks almost pop credibility truly marks him out from the rest of the crowd pursuing similar genre-bending goals. On Ellipsis, only the second release on the Hinge Finger imprint O’Grady co-curates with graphic designer Will Bankhead, he is on fine form, trademark crunching drums and a tunneling bassline complemented by sumptuous keys and an idiosyncratic sample lifted from from an interview with drum’n’bass duo Source Direct. It’s strange, smart and eminently danceable, vintage Orbison.
The Head High remix on the flip seems to be dividing opinion. Head High is one of the many disguises donned by Shed, the stand-out producer on Modeselektor’s fantastic 50 Weapons label, and his take on Ellipsis is typically bruising. Replacing the guile of Orbison’s original with stampeding breakbeats and suffocating melody beneath the sheer weight of his percussion, the rework either blows the original out of the water or demonstrates how far Orbison is ahead of the chasing pack, depending on who you speak to. Come to your own conclusions.