Some day the story of 20:20 Vision will be told. The back catalog of Ralph Lawson’s seemingly immortal imprint is staggeringly vast, and unlike some zombie labels reanimated for “brand quality” (and to re-issue cheap digital downloads), 20:20 continues to locate, nurture and grow a new generation of artists such as Simon Baker, Huxley and PBR Streetgang, to name a few featured in 2012 alone. What 20:20 releases have in common with each other is more of a feeling than a sound – lustrous, technically brilliant and often daringly arranged, and which never deign to give so much as a shrug to prevailing fashions.
It’s not hard to release a record now, and it wasn’t that hard back in the day either, but the “nurture” and “grow” part of A&R is what makes me want to mainline this shit. Look at the discography of Audiojack and you’ll see a steady progression, a growing confidence, and tracking along has been a series of progressively better and better releases on 20:20. Radio, their 2009 album on the label, showed a definite progression from White Noise (2006), and which in turn was topped by the Get Serious 12″ released a year ago. And here we top out with No Equal Sides, their new EP which drops today and shows a pair of artists with total confidence and even a bit of swagger to their sound.
“In Principle” and the title track both feature crisp breaks, dreamy synths and in the case of the first, a totally leftfield breakdown that dramatically changes the tempo, holds steady and then flips back like a switch.
The real surprise, if you want to call it that, is “Tunnel Vision”, which is an actual song – male vocal (uncredited on my copy, but it’s Stee Downes), soulful-style, with handclaps and beautiful synths.
I can get completely lost in just about any Audiojack track – there are really so many textures and layers, luxurient listening without taking anything away from the dancefloor. Something as simple as “Tunnel Vision” is a small symphony – you can listen a dozen times and still discover something new wrapped around the groove and buried in the mix.