London’s Lobster Theremin imprint has put out some of the best house music of the last couple of years, but there’s an inconsistency to their output resulting in careful vetting before purchase. The latest LT release could be the underground dance bomb of the year or it could be a slab of fuzzy, largely indistinguishable straight-to-tape noodling.
LT just opened the doors on a new sub-label, Distant Hawaii, and thankfully the quality has been kept tightly in check for its first outing via Mancunian producer Hidden Spheres. The sound here is warmer and more laid-back than on LT, and Hidden Spheres ably takes on the task of producing a summer killer for the fresh imprint. The tunes here are sunny and profoundly inviting, primed for either the club or the chill, each cut offering a different flavour.
Waiting eases out in first gear, building over a rolling rhythm, syrup-thick Rhodes keys and the occasional clipped vocal to a gorgeous riff that you just want to sink into like a bath. Upsn Down picks up the pace a touch, bringing the same bittersweet chill but teasing it out into a strong climax, seething synthwork and a supple bassline bringing a touch of drama to the ‘floor.
The B-side returns to a leisurely pace, Be A Man strolling across bright melodic accents and a gently rising synth sweep. By this point you’re probably so relaxed that friends might suspect a coma, but you’ll wake up to surprising closer Bill Loves You which wields clashing hi hats and a busier harmonic arrangement that takes in noir-ish brass and a gritty acid line that underscores the pacey vocal sample. It’s a winning debut for LT’s fresh label and a particularly impressive showing from Hidden Spheres, who shows he can bring the chill with the best of them without ever straying too far from the club.