Cottam: Dawn Walk (Audio Parallax)

It’s amusing to see the flavors-of-the-month rise and fall – no names, but seven publicists on retainer can only get you so far for so long. I’m a jaded and petty enough man to relish the consequences of overexposure, which is even more of an irritant in a pixelated world (see also Schadenfreude).

But it’s inspiring when yesterday’s It Guy keeps his head down, his hardhat on and turns blog infatuation into a solid career. Paul Cottam was everyone’s man of the moment three or four years ago, with unlabeled, unmarketable slabs of vinyl that seemed to capture everyone’s attention.

There was a reason for it. They were good, first of all, and that certainly is important. But another matter is that people were (and still are) desperately seeking and on the rare occasions when they find it, clinging to anything that seems real, for something that can continue to inspire rather than fill you with an uncomfortable feeling of buyer’s remorse.

So Cottam has continued working, and good on him. This vinyl release from Audio Parallax spotlights an even more confident and self-assured sound than his previous releases. “Heavy Handed Disco Police” is the winner here: thumpy, tribal percussion, not slow disco but something like Deep House slowed down to a menacing strut. I can’t say for sure how this would work on the dancefloor, but it’s absolutely hypnotic in headphones, taking a constant, inside-out motif and rolling it from the left ear to the right and back again.

“Neurological Breakdown” is a close second. Starting out with the same looping effects, it’s a beat track until rather late in the mix (all three tracks are 8 minutes+) when a vocal sample emerges from out of the ether, throws a thunderbolt or two and dissolves back into a piece of blue sky. I don’t know where this guy learned production but the overall effect is gorgeous.