At a time when most American labels are having trouble getting records pressed, the greatest problem Omar S and FXHE are having is keeping them in stock. As of May 2015, Detroit’s FXHE has released four EPs in quick succession, all of them on vinyl – an unheard of frequency and consistency for an American independent today.
But 2015 is going to be remembered as the year FXHE went Next Level on us. Half of that four EP output thus far has been from relatively unknown producers. And Detroit doesn’t hand out participation medals: each one of these has enhanced the FXHE brand significantly. They’re good, really good.
Marc King has been ID’d on discogs as the same Marc King that co-wrote a number of outstanding records that came out of Detroit in the 1990s. The best was the Scan-7 collective’s Black Moon Rising on Underground Resistance – a track that was one of the first “new” and modern Techno records I ever heard at a rave and was able to identify and pick up at the record shop on Monday, which makes it something of an important record to me. Is it the same guy? No idea, and probably beside the point – the UR aesthetic was to obscure the producers behind a mess of wires and balaclavas, and few people other than Mad Mike himself better captured this than Lou Robinson’s Scan-7.
“Equality” and “Loquacious” – which together make up the A side from King’s Ever Forward EP for FXHE – sound like straight up Director’s Cut. If this isn’t a direct tribute to Frankie Knuckles, it’s born of the same influences as that great man. “Loquacious” (which contains no identifiable words at all) is the dubbier of the pair and most likely to find the widest reception. Both are genuinely soulful tracks.
The mix of “Water Of Life” by Omar S is a radical shift. Taking up the entire B side, it’s stripped down and aggressive – it thunders through percussive thunder that seems determined to throw even the most carefully balanced levels into the red. It’s face-meltingly intense, like someone’s tickling your chin with a feather in one hand and a brick in the other.