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Hamo - Cotton Club EP (Splendor & Squalour)

Massive sophomore effort on Splendor & Squalour, the imprint Brame & Hamo have been running since the pair moved to Berlin. Hamo's flying solo and letting his love for hiphop fully shine through on 'The Cotton Club' EP. And while fusing square MPC beats, rimshots and hiphop antics with dusty deephouse seems to be the hip thing to do these days (I always wonder if there's memos and TPS reports going round in 'the industry'), Brame & Hamo were championing this vibe alongside contemporaries like Graef and Hodini way before the hipsters and copycats cottoned on. I went to see them play in Amsterdam a while ago and they dropped some killer vintage hiphop (think 90's Tribe) mid-set; these dudes are the real deal.

The Cotton Club is a pearl of an EP too, arguably Hamo's best work to date. The dusty title track on the A with its driving snare, dusty rhodes, mellow guitar strumming and moody strings is killer club fodder that will find its way into sets of both disco and deep house aficionados. 'Wonce', also on the A, sounds like Mos Def in his Black Star days trying his hand at 4/4. A massive double kick, gloopy basement and vintage scratch samples. It all just works so well together, love it when a producer has the ability to make things sound easy when they're anything but.

Hamo welcomes MC 'This Side Up' on In Control, a smooth chunk of hiphop spiced up by his Irish lyricist pal. Kickflip Mike (part of the Box Aus Holz crew) gets to remix Wonce and turns in a dark and pounding version that ditches most of the samples and soul of the original in favor of a fierce techno stomper. Not for me this, but it's commendable to see that Brame & Hamo have the cojones to release curveballs as well. The Black Lodge rounds things off nicely with its driving hats, murderous baseline and muted trumpet stabs.

Killer record by a producer very much on top of his game. Go get one, you know you want it.


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