Axe Traxx is the grittier younger sibling of the established London-based vinyl and digital label, Axe on Wax. Axe Traxx made a lovely splash last year with their split EP from fledgling producers Die Roh and Trudge, particularly the emotive, low slung and lethal cut, ‘Give’. Now Axe Traxx is banging down the doors of 2017 with a release from unknown producer RVL. RVL 001, having received early support from the likes of Mosca, Chaos in the CBD, and Baltra, is a masterpiece in analog floor fodder— certainly giving listeners enough to latch on to across the four tracks mentally, but it’s clear as day (or night if you prefer) that these tunes were made to move bodies.
All of the tracks on RVL‘s inaugural output are nameless, but that shouldn’t deter from giving this newcomer a shot. ‘Track 1’ kicks off right away with a barrage of percussion and a gurgling bassline, all below a well rinsed, yet timeless sample from Sinnamon’s 1983 hit, ‘I Need You Now‘. RVL leaves all the heartstrings belonging to the original out of the equation as he is absolutely focused here on rhythmic excellence and nearly off-the-rails modular synth noodling.
Premiering on Bolting Bits today is ‘Track 2‘. Among the strongest on the EP, Track 2 pumps out an aggressive lead at the start; a distorted growl that spends the whole track mutating. Around 1:20 in, a smoky and sensual combination between the bassline and urban samples (reminiscent of Interplanetary Criminal’s more immediate efforts) really lifts this track toward its full potential, which is realized as detuned pads and a sustained high-end bring utter balance and space to this absolute stomper.
The B-side heads in a bit of a different direction, though no less engaging. ‘Track 3’ sets speakers ablaze with its one-two punch of analog drum programming and an undeniably enjoyable sax line that feels much more akin to the free-wheeling jazz of the late-great John Coltrane than that of an airport lounge affair. ‘Track 4’ resolves RVL 001, with a garage-tinged and hypercompressed gallop and a sultry soul/funk vocal that makes it one of the more inviting and grooving cuts off the EP.
We may not know who RVL is, or what else he has up his sleeves, but we know for sure that hearing his work out on a proper system will be sure to turn both heads and feet toward the center of the club. RVL 001 serves as an excellent intro for mysterious producer, and another fine addition to the increasingly reliable Axe Traxx imprint. Available next week on Juno.