Voodeux The Paranormal

[Mothership; 2009]

Styles: moody house, techno
Others: Gui Boratto, Matthew Herbert, Kompakt

Voodeux is a collaboration born and bred on the internet. Members James Watts and Tanner Ross met on a message board and built tracks together via email. Their combined efforts have yielded The Paranomal, a quirky little house album with a crush on horror-movie kitsch.

“Just a Spoonful” is an emblematic track, where Watts and Tanner paint with Gui Boratto’s palette to create a composition more like an early Matthew Herbert. Jazzy colors bleed through the finicky structures of minimal house with just enough grubby low-end and squealing surprises to merit the slasher-flick art of the album cover. “Bones” marks a shift toward more inventive patterns and motion that, thankfully, is sustained through the rest of the album; weirdly EQ’d atmospherics screech and fly atop the techno mechanics, like bats through the attic of a haunted house. Such tactics make for harsher and more interesting listening than the tried and true rhythms that prevail in some of the album’s first tracks.

“Frank the Janitor” unhinges the album’s formula a bit to introduce a grittier, bladed swing that lets the group’s personality shine through. Ditto for “The Paranormal,” which toys with mutated vocal samples à la AGF or The Field in the midst of a perky crunch-’n’-shuffle rhythm. The guys don’t really go for it until “Skeleton Key,” which liberally salts the meaty 4/4 with tricks only sprinkled here and there on the other tracks.

The Paranormal is an enjoyable, if unsurprising, listen that should appeal to fans of Herbert, Boratto, and any of those Kompakt Total comps.

1. The End
2. Just a Spoonful
3. Enter the Voo
4. Heebie Jeebiez
5. Bones
6. The Third Floor
7. Frank the Janitor
8. The Paranormal
9. Skeleton Key
10. Deadend Motel

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