Longford is known for many things. Actually, Longford isn’t known for that many things. It certainly isn’t known for its electronic music scene. Perhaps that’s why James Brady and Emmett Collum, together known as RZR-FDR, decided to relocate to Dublin where they join a burgeoning community of like-minded electronic artists. What makes RZR-FDR (pronounced “razor fader”) stand out from the crowd is their appreciation and appropriation of early ‘90s dance music. While the production and instrumentals are updated for the new century, the three songs on this EP are reminiscent of the Chicago house sound, even more so than their Retail EP released earlier this year.
This kind of music has endured a bit of a renaissance recently, especially in the UK. The likes of Disclosure, Rudimental and Duke Dumont have gained success by mining the sounds of dance music’s past. Whereas these acts use their influences as a background on which to project pop songs, RZR-FDR are happier sticking to the original formula. There are vocals on these tracks but they are mostly sample-based rather than a verse-chorus set up. Tracks built more for the dance floor than the radio.
The songs are consistently bright with a summer feel. The highlight of the EP is probably the second track Gonna Rise, which floats along on a wave of synths and is buoyed by the female vocals that run throughout the song. The group mention Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs as an influence and he is definitely a touchstone here. Although clearly these lads are working on a lower budget, the sounds they create here aren’t a million miles from that quality.
Of the other two tracks, Night Balm is more low-key but does make better use of the vocal sample. Substances is probably the track with the least amount of substance ironically and has a bit more of an ambient quality, but it is a nice tune all the same. This collection of tracks probably won’t launch RZR-FDR to the top of the charts but it is a definite progression from their last EP and shows that the group are improving and experimenting. While it would be nice to hear them attempt something a bit more attention-grabbing, the songs on here are immensely listenable and it is easy to hear the future potential of the group.