As Bristol clubbing institution Just Jack approaches its triumphant tenth birthday, its vinyl-only label counterpart steadily makes up the time lost with another chugging release with a gaze once again fixed firmly on the dancefloor. Having employed the likes of Amir Alexander, Mr. G and Seven Davis Jr. in the past, mysterious Berlin-based producer Rydim (allegedly one of a well-known trio performing under an alternative pseudonym) is in good company.
Opener Up (Glory Mix) relentlessly presses forward, dragging hearty claps and shuddering kicks in tandem with snatches of crowd samples, and wide-eyed rave synths reminiscent of an after-hours Head High. In a similar fashion to Mr. G before him, Rydim keeps the elements of the track simple, but effective, teasing out grooves rather than forcing them. Lean Bow repeats the trick, but to greater effect: a skittering broken-beat built upon with tense strings and an ominous main melody. Each element of the track is meticulously layered, with phases of reverb and filtering utilized alongside varying claps and urgent hi-hats, maintaining both of a sense of drama and pace. Indeed, for all its melodic intent, it is perhaps the percussive element of the track that is the most satisfying. Jared Wilson on the EP also makes an appearance, turning remixer on Cougar (Jared Wilson’s 7777 Acid Remix), an achingly melancholic 303-jam, as fun as it is plaintive, with distant, warm synths washing over acidic acrobatics and a drum-programming workout.
For all the consistency and impressive production of the other three tracks, it is on Cougar (Chord Version) that Rydim really begins to stretch his legs. Again, there is superb percussive work, this time offset by acidic spurts and an equally strong stabbing synthesizer melody. Claps are drenched in echo, and the bubbling elements of the track jostle for position beneath the swooning piano chords referenced in the title. It’s a cut above the rest of the EP, strong as it is, largely for the reason that, for me, it’s the closest track on the release to capturing the feeling of a Just Jack event. It’s unclear whether Rydim or Jared Wilson has ever been to any such event - but it’s understandable why the label felt their output suitable and exciting enough to put out as the 6th Just Jack release.
Words: Harry Reddick