The Room BelowHomemade Waves EP

The Room Below - Homemade Waves EP album cover
Label:Don't Be Afraid – DBA020
Vinyl, 12", EP


A2Rainy Friday
B1Mad Energy



  • sunshine-recorder's avatar
    Since emerging in 2010 Benji ‘Semtek’ Roth’s label has traced an arc through leftfield UK house music - working quietly in the understated manner that labels of this calibre always do. His aptitude for teasing out the diverse, oddball, but ultimately cohesive records from a multitude of artists, has so-far resulted in a consistent string of high quality records - often from unheard of, but talented producers.

    The Room Below first appeared on DBA 015.5 - the musical alias of Henry Keen, a London based producer who’s credits stretch back to 1998. From the outset, one can tell his productions are a great fit on the label; on Freedom, lush, aquatic pads construct an hypnotic framework for the spoken word sample to rest upon. Though a completely different track there’s definitely a thematic echo of Mark Fell & DJ Sprinkles’ collaborative 12″ also released this year. This is the mellow cut of the lot, perfect for warm ups as the club fills, or indeed a track to stick on when you return home. Elsewhere on the record, Rainy Friday is a kinetic builder much more oriented for the floor, replete with cheeky acid squiggles and an irresistible banging momentum anchored by some excellent percussive work. Sparser sections of the track give the pads more space when necessary, which helps to make the track feel balanced and wide open.

    Mad Energy is strange. Starting off the B-side it’s a tumbling, fun track that sounds like the result of a synthesiser going absolutely mental. The sounds here drift in and out of focus, until it all plateaus around half-way through, never quite achieving the intensity built earlier on the track. It could be said the latter half to the track helps to give some definition and sense of direction, something many track in the scene of leftfield house music can often lack. Though it does well to hold ones attention it’s not a track I particularly see being played in clubs, though it certainly makes for a great listen through a set of headphones.

    You can’t fault Semtek’s knack for getting the better tracks out of his artists; the second b-side cut Freedom is another excellent effort from Henry Keen. There’s a confluence of sounds here - my reference points being the sounds of early 90s Chicago but equally the weird, restrained quirks of German duo Dreesvn. There’s tons of detail to dig through in this track, from the precise vocal cut-ups, that acid squiggle (again!) and the weird off-tempo drums. Very much a track - and indeed, a record worthy of repeated listens, you discover a new left-turn every time you drop the needle on this one.


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