Well Rounded Records, June 4th, 2012
No countryman bias, this is legit. This is also not a rap album or Kanye side project, if you were confused by the name. I had forgotten about Wheez-ie after XLR8R let slip to us mortals a Salva remix of one of his tracks, ‘Keep Yer Chin Up,’ over half a year ago. It’d be simplistic of me to say that I see the changes in his work since then, or that he’s developed a singular voice, because this EP ranges across electronic genres, maintaining excellent quality throughout, but I do think that it is easy to see the time put into this EP and the love for dance music that Wheez-ie emparts. This is raise-your-hands-up-music.
While nostalgia is something to be wary of, it is easy to love the over-the-top vocal samples, breakbeats, and shuffling footwork rhythms put forth by Wheez-ie here; ‘Remember the Score’ as an EP and as a song proper make you want to move; an explosive 808-driven bassline partway into the song itself (preceded by a “let the bass kick” vocal sample, obviously) does the trick, leading into the album’s purest ‘juke’ moment, if that term is still in vogue. Wheez-ie explores thumping acid house as well, on ‘**** Yer ****’ (emphasis added…), beginning with some eerie melodies that give pause before unfolding into a well-paced exploration of 303 sounds and an emphatic vocal sample. I would venture that this is the EP’s least interesting track, but perhaps this is due to the overwhelming spotlight on acid house at the moment and Recondite’s excellent On Acid long player; this is not a knock on the song… Moving on, the EP meditates with a bigbeat, ‘Chemical Brothers’-style third track, ‘Choke Hold,’ that on another record might be an emotional and adrenal highpoint with its 303 play and spoken vocals. Here however, it is the calm before tempos are jacked up for the final track, ‘Desire,’ a beautiful jungle/footwork hybrid that owes its ancestors in both genres as much as it is reminiscent of David Kennedy’s work as Pearson Sound and Ramadanman. High praise, if I may say so.
Maybe there is something to be said for a cohesive album statement, I don’t know. I do know that Wheez-ie’s range and quality on this album is impressive. He touches on classic dance history tropes without seeming stiff or over-studied, and importantly for some of the music that is being released in this scene/genre/??? (and for DJs perhaps not playing to the most studied crowds…), he makes music that can make anyone, no matter their knowledge of the history of rave or jungle or the cultural significance and crossovers of footwork and juke, want to dance. Because, I guess that’s what it’s all about, right?