Review: Extra Medium – Big Dirty Brass
Part 2 By Chris Swinglis

One of the things that’s interesting to notice when maintaining regular reviews is the speed at which different artists come around with new releases. I’ve been writing this blog for almost a year now, and it’s getting to the point where I’m beginning to review artists multiple times across different releases. Technically, the first artist I reviewed twice was Father Funk, as I’ve discussed both his Tuxedo Junction and Deezguyz projects. The first artist I’ve legitimately reviewed twice though was Parov Stelar, following my review of Voodoo Sonic the other week – although my first review of his simply concerned the single ‘Snake Charmer’. Thus, Extra Medium now holds the title of the first artist of whom I’ve reviewed two extended releases – this one concerning his latest two-track EP (with some of the silliest artwork I’ve ever seen), Big Dirty Brass pt.2.

The first of the two songs is ‘Walking In’, which opens with a strong house beat before giving way to a classic swing era sample, setting the pace for a brilliant and upbeat number. The dirty bass slides in flawlessly, underscoring a very minimal trumpet line which fits superbly. A large part of this song makes use of extended samples, which can be a risky game to play in that one could arguably make accusations of simply putting a house beat under someone else’s song – but Extra Medium gets away with it due to the fact that this song is just so fun, creating a real party atmosphere. Indeed, the purpose of this track just seems to be silliness, fun, and joy, and this is certainly achieved.

Following this, ‘Moanin’’ presents a remix of the Kuti Mangoes cover of the jazz standard. Extra Medium has a particular talent for finding some of the more obscure acts complementary to electro swing to remix, and the Afrobeat jazz of Kuti Mangoes is a fine choice. For instance, there’s a fantastic saxophone solo halfway through; the band are clearly bona fide modern-day musicians, and it’s great to see this being recognised within electro swing. The beat remains very house-y with this one, but has been made more inventive than standard house, and the sample is cut up nicely, maintaining interest with every repetition. Towards the end there’s a slightly unnecessary phase sweep which doesn’t really serve much purpose, but this is the only negative comment I could make across both songs, and it’s really only minor.

This EP differs from Hot Jazz Rollers, in that where that release focussed largely on the sounds of drum ’n’ bass, this one is fixated with house. In both cases however, Extra Medium has demonstrated his expertise in these genres, showcasing his proficiency across multiple styles, and approaches to electro swing. Last time, I argued that Hot Jazz Rollers was a great example of electro swing being a genuine form of jazz. Whilst this isn’t the case as strongly with this release, it still displays Extra Medium as a very skilful producer, making some of the most enjoyable examples of this genre. Big Dirty Brass pt.2, whilst short, has the potential to make a big impact. I look forward to part three.

Stream & Download: “Extra Medium – Big Dirty Brass pt. 2” HERE!

Written by Chris Swinglis Date: 2020-05-04

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