When Cadenza invited Gavin Herlihy to come on board, he showed up on the label's Swiss doorstep with suitcases absolutely bursting at the seams—spilling over with rubbery bass
lines, silvery percussion, and strange samples with a faded, postcard patina. (Also, two of the most evocative titles in recent memory.)
Wherever the Irish-born, Berlin-based producer has been on his travels, it was clearly one hell of a journey. From the sound of "Underneath the Wind Machine," he must have made at least one stop on the Italian Riviera: the song's climax features a slow swell of mandolins that evoke the hot breeze ruffling dog-eared pages at a seaside café. But this isn't musical tourism. Herlihy takes his sweet time building things up, with dry electronic percussion shuddering in place beneath subtle synthesizer gusts; it's more than three minutes before the sound of a lone, plucked arpeggio can first be faintly heard, and then another, rising with a hummingbird's motion. The remainder of the track all but sweeps you off your feet, between the fantastical melody and a driving, housey groove.
"Train Dodging," true to its title, is all about hijinks on a hairpin curve. Whereas Herlihy's productions can often be deeply melodic, this one pours all of its energy into a bounding,
propulsive groove. Hi-hats, woodblocks, bells and bass trade syncopations, tumbling over one another in a breathless game of percussive leapfrog; fat, battered 909 snares push it all
forward with martial riffing. The suggestion of a melody flashes by in scraps of sampled horns and voices, like blurred forms glimpsed from the passenger window as the train goes hurtling down the rails. It's a white-knuckled ride with a wide-eyed grin.