Release Date: 24/02/2014
There seem to be precious few producers managing to retain a sense of humour in their music these days; a fact which makes Kris Wadsworth’s latest LP, _Popularity, _all the more refreshing. With his Uranus label project having been a remarkable success given its low-key publicity campaign over 2013, Wadsworth has returned to previous home Hypercolour for this release, yet the hallmarks of his solo project have definitely left their mark. _S_panning ten tracks of sleazy mediations between house & techno, the record is instantly recognisable as Wadsworth by the squelching acid basslines, and raw, muscular rhythms which provided the blueprint for the three Uranus releases so far.
The crossover is perhaps most evident on ‘Hot Karl’, its languid, slurring bassline supported by booming 4/4 drums and dust-laden high-end percussion. Following track ‘Cock Soup’ follows a similar format, sauntering rhythms interlocked in a hazy sway with Wadsworth’s throbbing buzz of low-end.
Whilst these and tracks such as ‘Evolove’ or the croaking, dub-tinged ’Verhexen’ feel dream-like with their lethargic pace and dense misty textures, Wadsworth manages to explore a range of themes without deviating from the format of groove-laden house drums and warped 303 synth-work. ‘Neo Nasty’ for example puts an electro edge on the sound; a kaleidoscope of twisting melodies and buoyant stuttered percussion call to mind some of Murk’s early productions.
Where ‘Neo Nasty’ propels itself into space with its psychedelic hook, ‘Public Relations’ brings you back to earth with a resounding thump. Booming kicks plod forward whilst a gravelly vocal drawls ‘he’s so kind, he’s so gentle’ above a contorted bass which is neither of those things. It’s tracks like this where Wadsworth is arguably most in his element; the combination of his partly rugged, partly playful idiosyncrasies is nothing short of infectious.
_Popularity _manages to mark a pivotal point in Wadsworth’s career rather succinctly whilst managing to have plenty of fun along the way; as mentioned previously the traits of his Uranus project have left a defining stamp on the album, yet with the slightly freer format of a full length release, Wadsworth is here able to indulge a side of his productions rarely showcased.