The 43rd release from Just Move Records is a modest little EP containing three smooth house tracks produced by Muskidd. Overall, it has a nice cumulative effect, just under twenty minutes of crisp production and a tasteful sense of restraint. It carries just enough melody to satisfy the listener, but never enough to push the tracks into pop music territory. This is a dry, instrumental group of songs that aims to relax the listener as much as motivate them to move.
The title track (Dusk Till Dawn) is a driving yet relaxed house beat, opening with a mellow, syncopated keyboard tone followed by a warm kick drum and some crackling vinyl sounds. It develops slowly as a metallic hi-hat and additional keyboards are introduced, pulling the listener in with each new element. The rhythmic keyboard patterns almost take the place of horns. Then, we hear washed out synths, as higher pitched keys form something of a main melody line.
The hypnotic repetition of the track favors gradual developments over jarring breakdowns, and while this song never fully “takes off” in the true sense of the word, it maintains its mellow intensity throughout the entire seven minutes. It does a successful job of introducing the album and carries a fantastic sense of space
This is followed by “Optimus Thalamus,” a slightly more upbeat track that carries a similar vibe. This song is by far the most repetitive of the bunch, and appears to be less complex than the other two. This time the synths are even more minimal, with just a thumping bass tone, one main keyboard line, and a simple high-pitched whirring in the background. After these two melodies are introduced, the track opens up slightly when an additional hi-hat element comes in along with a syncopated vocal sample, but beyond that, the song does not develop much more past this point.
This is followed by “She Has Bad Intentions,” the track I found to be the most enjoyable. The emphasis is still on warm tones, but this time with a somewhat different aesthetic, with sharper sounds and quicker melodic development. This song opens with a dense and percussive drum loop which is joined by nice, groovy keyboards. Then an acoustic guitar sample slowly fades in, providing a nice balance to the organic-sounding beat. Another high-pitched minimal synth comes fading in here as well, even lower in the mix than the previous track.
Overall the production here is more trebly than the other two songs and the melody is somewhat more developed. Rather than sticking with one main keyboard line through most of the song while slowly adding other elements, here Muskidd has the main keyboard switch to something like a refrain several times throughout the song. This gives “Bad Intentions” a somewhat more polished feel, as the keyboard line provides an anchor for the listener to keep coming back to.
I was impressed with the confidence of production on “Dusk Till Dawn.” It certainly left me wanting more from Muskidd, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective. While I only found a few aspects of the EP to be truly memorable, it succeeded in both relaxing and motivating me. This is pleasantly repetitive electronic music that is never too demanding of the listener, perfect for having on in the background while working, reminding me of music played in upscale restaurants or old racing video games.
You can purchase the Dusk Till Dawn EP by Muskidd by clicking the links below.