For the past year and a half the L.A. based label 100% Silk has been turning out a steady stream of off-beat disco, house, and blissed out party jams. There are a pair of reasons why this specific release stands out among the label’s recent offerings: 1.) It is a showcase for Octo Octa’s ever-evolving production skills; and 2.) It features vocals from none other than the head of the label, Amanda Brown, aka LA Vampires. Most of her work under that moniker has come out via Not Not Fun, the other label she runs. On the Freedom 2K EP the listener is treated to some of the most thrilling, off-kilter (for a label that specializes in off-beat, that says a lot) songs to emerge from this young imprint. It is also a new personal best for both artists, as they combine their talents to create a sleeper of a record, one that will stay with you long after the work ends.
Michael Morrison’s work as Octo Octa has evolved steadily over the past year, since he first dropped his bomb of a debut single, “Let Me See You,” which brought a lot of attention to the Silk label in its infancy. Over the past twelve months his music has moved away from being pure dance floor bangers, and in its place is a sound that is less immediately accessible but potentially more rewarding. The first evidence of this arrived on the Rough, Rugged, and Raw cassette from December of last year. This release afforded Morrison the opportunity to stretch out a bit, and the results are subdued, cerebral, and wholly satisfying on further listens. That’s not to say that he doesn’t throw the dance music traditions behind, but there’s something more going on, and that’s what he brings to the Freedom 2K EP. His production work is just as heady as before, but partnering with a vocalist brings a fascinating new edge to his work.
Not to be discounted, LA Vampires brings an equally cool vibe to the record, which perfectly complements the Octo Octa instrumentals. “His Love” opens the EP with Brown’s vocals flowing in and out of the music, making for an ideal collision of sounds over the record’s five tracks. “Gotta get his love/Gotta keep his love,” she repeats over the chorus, and it’s delivered in such a cocky, cool attitude that you can’t help but be in awe of her work. This feel continues, especially on the highlight “Wherever, Boy,” which ups the tempo a bit for a dance-oriented vibe.
There are critics of dance music who complain that it’s all style, no substance. On this release, Amanda Brown and co. demonstrate that there is a lot going on behind the scenes of these tracks. While it may not be immediately alluring, upon further spins the Freedom 2K EP reveals itself to be one of the best releases this label has put out. Here’s to the hope that these two will collaborate more in the future.