Jon Delerious Forage EP
The Canadian producer delivers a set of rock-solid house rhythms for the dependable Nordic Trax label.
House music isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when considering the Alberta city of Calgary—that would the oil industry, maybe, or perhaps the the 1988 Winter Olympics, or the Calgary Stampede—but there must be something going on out on the Canadian prairie. After all, there has to be an explanation for the existence of artists like John Delerious, a deep-house maestro who over the past decade and a half has made fans out of everyone from Laurent Garnier and Lee Burridge to Tensnake and Crazy P. He’s done so by amassing a discography brimming with rock-solid house grooves, a list that’s gotten a little bit longer with the release of the Forage EP on the ever-dependable Vancouver label Nordic Trax.
The release’s five cuts tend to split the difference between dancefloor muscle and headphone nod, occasionally leaning in the direction of the latter; they’re all rather straightforward as well, relying on house’s innate, tried-and-true appeal to work their magic. The EP’s namesake kicks off with a loping boogie-tech beat, its uncomplicated yet vaguely tense melody running throughout while various effects and filters weave in and out. “Cycles” amps up the boogie connection, with a syncopated guitar riff, handclaps, disco-throb bass, hypnotic synth line and a few well-placed vocal snippets propelling the song forward; it’s not unlike the kind deadly effective material that labels like Paper Recordings used to specializing in back in days of yore.
“Loft” adds a Jamaican vibe to the mix, with its reggaefied bassline and emphasis on the second and fourth beats—not to mention plenty of effects in the mix—positioning the track somewhere between the deep dub-isms of Rob Paine‘s Worship Recordings label and the ’90s output of Rockers Hi-Fi. The plaintive melody and subtly gorgeous sound design of the understated, acidic “All Caught Up,” meanwhile, add up to the EP’s most sweetly emotive moment. But “Sticky” might be best of all: Gorgeous Rhodes piano chords and angelic strings float above a stripped-down rhythm track, while a synthbass percolates below. Like the rest of Forage, it’s not complicated or abstruse, and that’s part of the EP’s charm—it’s just well-constructed house music, doing what house does best.