Gavin Herlihy has long been one of dance music’s most respected journalists and DJs, and with two acclaimed releases on Mood Music last year and more recently a brace of top-drawer remixes for UNKLE and Alexkid, he’s fast becoming one of its hottest producers. Freshly relocated to Berlin, his debut 12” for Kindisch, ‘Opium Haze’, confirms his status as a skilled and innovative player on the house and techno scene.
‘Opium Haze’ is as heady and intoxicating as its title implies; an effortlessly psychedelic piece of music that’s nonetheless firmly rooted on the dancefloor. It begins with a clicky, funked-up conga tattoo cloaked in disorienting effects which partly obscure the jazzy melody rising up from the mix’s depths. Out of that sticky, dubby fug emerges an insistent, upward-tripping piano line and synthesized string stabs – together forming the kind of rave-ready hook that’ll cause immediate damage in the club. Herlihy is superbly heavy on the edit, using an Eastern woodwind sample, disembodied voices and various percussive elements to deliver build after build, drop after explosive drop. ‘Opium Haze’ is a hugely satisfying piece of music, and a club anthem-in-waiting.
‘Professional Exit’ is a more stripped-down but no less accomplished affair, driven by a warm, rippling bassline and phased electronics. Before the percussion intesifies and interlocks, offsetting a sparse one-note synth line which hangs in the air, thickening it with understated drama. At once seductive and unsettling, experimental and club-oriented, ‘Professional Exit’ is indeed a professional end to a highly professional 12”.
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