In 2019, American producers are something of a square peg. Despite the States being the birthplace of most of the techno and house styles that dominate sites like our own, there are still more desirable birthplaces for someone making electronic music in this day and age: Berlin is still the place your talented friend just moved to; Paris is still sexy and well-monied; London is still obsessed with having a big night on the town. True, New York has its share of doomer DJs peddling dark and idiosyncratic styles, and places like Chicago and Detroit continue to bear down on the styles native to them, but, by and large, North American dance music in this decade has mostly been a Canadian affair.
Enter Drew LaBarre. Though a native of Portland, Oregon, you’d be forgiven for having assumed his moniker Orthographic Figure was the property of a London producer: In 2017, LaBarre had his first wax release on boutique label Of Paradise—yet another niche London label housed under the aggressive P+D strategy of Lobster Distribution.
But his label affiliation wasn’t the only thing that might have made you misplace the American LaBarre. That first release on Of Paradise boasted a palette that was decidedly mid-90’s and decidedly Brit. On his latest track, featured on a free digital comp for just-launched California label Bouquet, LaBarre goes back to that deep historical well.
Clocking in at just under six minutes, “Dancer Drew” showcases a sharpened sonic touch and a tighter arrangement style than those featured on his Of Paradise release. Though an acid track through-and-through, the track boasts jazzy chords structures and intricate patterns that recall the multi-genre mastery of the Future Sound of London classic “Stolen Documents”. With any luck, this is just a second step for a producer who will have a big future in the sound of his city’s, and his country’s, scene.
Bouquet Vol. 1 also features work from RegularFantasy, Jack Roland, Blair Sound Design, Intimacy, and yours truly Caffeine Worldwide. It’s available on May 2nd following a few release delays, but can be preordered currently for just $.99 on Bandcamp.