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Tunnel/Rotten Guts

(Ninja Tune; US: Available as import; UK: 16 Mar 2009)

I love being excited about a new Ninja Tune release. The label has been responsible for many pivotal music moments in my life, and now Etan “Shuttle” Groundswell’s cathartic “Tunnel” has joined them. The track starts with a smooth minimal house atmosphere, moving to epic ‘80s retro-futurist synths coalescing over an industrial hip-hop come dubstep beat. The synths move through their melodic cycle a few times and, when it peaks, the cut explodes on a mean, warping house beat with all the force of a freight-train. It seems a lot longer than its four and a half minutes, in a very good way.

The 12-inch b-side “Rotton Guts” isn’t quite as mind-blowing. Canadian firecracker emcee Cadence Weapon adds his signature heady flow to an electro hip-house beat, punctuated by a squeaky vocal sample. Filling out the vinyl single is a High Rankin remix of “Tunnel” that does everything the original does, only not as well, focusing mostly on the metallic dubstep side of the track. That said, the original mix of “Tunnel” is easily worth the price of admission alone. In a world still engrossed by Burial, this will stand as one of the best electronic singles of 2009. It will be something to see what the Boston prodigy producer will do with a full-length.


Compelled to words by music since 2004, Ranta's words have appeared in such esteemed publications as Exclaim!, Tiny Mix Tapes, CBC Music, and PopMatters. He also regularly votes for the Polaris Music Prize, Village Voice Pazz & Jop, Juno Awards, and in all local, provincial, and federal elections. Based in East Vancouver, he's been known to a rave and/or rant, cat whisper, play basketball, pessimistically root for the Canucks, and read far too many comment sections. He graduated with distinction from SFU in 2012, with a bachelor's degree in music.


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