Calling all home recordists “bedroom producers” is as reductionist as the term seems. New York’s […]
Calling all home recordists “bedroom producers” is as reductionist as the term seems. New York’s Policy (a.k.a. Francis Hsueh) certainly seems to transcend the term, as the lawyer-cum-filmmaker and father of two has repeatedly issued jazzy, deep-house-leaning tracks with an impressive sense of musicality and restraint. Postscript, his new, six-track EP for LA label 100% Silk, is a subtle and telling expansion of his output thus far, building on this year’s XLR8R-picked Hit Gone Bad EP.
Postscript‘s first half finds Policy continuing right where he left off—a series of warm, mid-tempo jaunts with an emphasis on overlapping melodic themes and subtle, nonchalant production choices. The fluid house groove of “Postscript 187” utilizes sawed-off vocal snippets and an efficient, sturdy bass pattern before a clarion call adds an unexpected flavor that guides the song to a crest in both energy and compositional arc. “Groove Street Freeze” employs another carefree groove that’s content to strut leisurely in the background, exemplifying a laissez-faire attitude that extends across the EP. Policy’s tracks seem content to wander along until they reach their natural conclusion, though at times this inertia is a hindrance. Such is the case with “Remembrance,” which despite taking a few more risks sonically—in particular with the skittering, chord progression that kicks off the track—feels a bit plodding, as if Hsueh is still figuring out where the song should go as it plays.
The second half of Postscript is where Policy begins to expand his reach, though the effort never feels contrived. Standout track “Ghost in the Groove” demonstrates the sweet spot between a belabored and slovenly arrangement, as harder-edged drum sounds and a wrought soul sample rub together singularly as a delay-soaked hoover synth riff bounces between the speakers. Later, “Wiseblood” and “Big Beat Anthem” bring more aggressive sounds to the forefront. Utilizing syncopated sidestick hits, washed-out chords, and white-noise-injected snares, both tracks contrast nicely with Policy’s more genteel productions.
It’d be very easy to overlook the range the EP employs, and yet the subtle sonic expansion of Postscript is one of its biggest virtues—its first half succeeds in continuing to meld Hsueh’s elegant melodic sensibilities with warm, chastened grooves, while the second demonstrates he can shine even when venturing into less familiar territory.