DJ Tennis has established himself via his label Life And Death and his influence on both the Italian scene and on the house and techno scene worldwide. He has always been someone who represented the underground side of music, whether it be indie, rock or electronic and his label is a reflection of this, always releasing interesting new music and supporting artists who go against the grain. This is his second solo outing on the label and is a great reflection of what Tennis is all about in the year 2014…
Following the ‘Make It Good’ EP, which was released in 2012, DJ Tennis’ Local EP is comprised seven original tracks, so in some respects it could be considered a mini-album. Across the seven tracks we get plenty of heartfelt, emotive productions, starting off with “Love Child” which features Luke Jenner on vocals. If you’ve never heard of Luke Jenner before, you might know his band The Rapture… yes, The Rapture! The track is an epic opener to the EP, with thundering drums, solemn synth lines and a rumbling bassline. It’s as if a thunderstorm is rolling in over an area of open countryside. Around four minutes Luke’s stirring vocals enter the fray offering a moment of respite, before it continues in a softer vein.
Next up is “Ah! Isobel” a chunky, chugging roller with hazy vocals interspersed amongst the muted drums at the beginning. As the track progresses the vocals become more prominent, singing away over the melancholy instrumental. Perfect summertime vibes, we can imagine this one going down a treat at Sonar. “Anatomy” is the third track and the vibes are a lot brighter on this one, with soft keys and summery pads, twinkling chimes combined with a droning bassline full of emotion and drive, plus some skippy percussion.
“Floating Boy (Self Portrait)” injects some drama into proceedings with its imposing, morose atmosphere. The beats stomp along while a feeling of dread pervades throughout. Midway through, the track stops for a bit, slowing down to allow a sombre organ to cry out and give us all a lump in our throats before continuing on with its forlorn march.
“You Closed My Eyes” sees Tennis pushing the envelope with his love of indie coming to the surface. The down tempo track works off a simple lead bass with a lush male vocal – which is actually Tennis himself! The beats are scant, a slight chug rumbles below with minimal use of effects letting the bass do its work. Sublime.
Next up we have track 6, “Williamsburg” named after the famous part of Brooklyn, New York. This is a more funky, upbeat follow up to “You Closed My Eyes” with a catchy bassline, spritely synths and beats to make those feet tap relentlessly. Of course there’s still plenty of depth and emotion, particularly in the latter part of the track when a horn enters the fray.
Lastly North Lake offers up a remix of “Anatomy“, which is a ‘happier’ than the original with a sense of hope present throughout. It’s a nice way to close out the EP, on a cheerful note after some serious, more melancholy compositions.
Overall, a seminal release. Proving again that DJ Tennis is one of the scene’s leaders.
You Closed My Eyes