Xircus: Reality Bites

Firefly residents Jeet and Max Cooper join forces once again…

It’s been over ten years since Jeet & Max became residents at Nottingham’s renowned Firefly club night, and in that time their energetic, multi-turntable, effect-ridden live sets have earned them a sizable fan base, and rightly so. Under the recently adopted moniker Xircus, the duo formerly known as Thrash Jelly are preparing to release their first full EP, Reality Bites, on renowned German label Trapez, featuring remixes by Deepgroove & Ronan Portela.

Max Cooper has been on top form in recent months, remixing Hot Chip, Sasha and releasing some fine productions of his own. It seems that this latest offering, produced alongside long time collaborator Jeet (Satyajit Das) is no exception. As expected, the duo’s use of sampling is fantastic – recording and chopping up sounds from a myriad of different sources. ‘The EP is a sample themed one…’ says Max, ‘…with a different sample source for each track.’

The opening track, cleverly dubbed Rolf Harris, sets the tone and is for me, the highlight of the EP. Customarily fresh percussion samples are the first things to note as the track opens, soon accompanied by a chunky, rhythmic bassline that somehow manages to be infectiously groovy at the same time. As the track builds the listener is introduced to the bangs and crackles of what is in fact a run of the mill baking tray being turned into a sample sound board by the Xircus boys. The ribbon is tied around the package by some eerie vocodered breathing samples, and the result is a dark, moody dance-floor groover, which will be irresistible to any club crowd.

‘Hyperventilation,’ continues in the same vein, but with a deeper edge to the other tracks on the EP. Samples of breathing combined with a wonky slow-brewing bassline and some really menacing synths build up a manic, paranoid feel and ensure that the transitions really are absolute mind benders. The main drop in the track is superb, everything that has been simmering for the last four and a half minutes explodes into an absolute club banger.

Dehydration by XIRCUS

The next track ‘Dehydration,’ is driven by several different water sound samples, providing some really fresh sounds, without overwhelming the mix of the overall track. Combine this with another trademark Xircus bassline and crisp sounding percussion arrangements and you have a really well constructed, unorthodox piece, worthy of any techno DJ’s record bag.

Remixes of Rolf Harris come courtesy of UK group Deepgroove & Argentina’s Ronan Portela. Deepgroove add a tech house flavour to the original, driven by a drum section featuring great sounding, brash, organic samples and a really rich bass groove to keep everything moving along. Ronan Portela’s mix features some extremely Xircus-esque percussion & fills the listeners ears with a fantastically deep pulsing bassline, complimented by some very subtle techy synth sounds and samples.

Rolf Harris by XIRCUS

‘Reality Bites’ is a sample driven release, those who enjoy melody in their music might find themselves in unfamiliar territory. This aside, meticulous attention to detail, sheer sonic depth in their work, and a conscious effort to set their music apart from the crowd are what make Xircus’s first full EP a superb release. The samples are arranged and laid down carefully, giving not only a genuine sense of continuity throughout each track, but also ensuring that the end product is not something that has been laid down purely to be a gimmick, but a collection of genuinely innovative, club-friendly techno.

Check out Xircus and Max Cooper on MySpace.

Simon Bhana

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