ANDY VAZ - First Aid Course
Grooves Magazine (US)
Not only is First Aid Course notable for being the inaugural release from Italy's Persistence Bit, it also showcases a more expansive and dance-based sound from Vaz, in contrast to the self-imposed minimalistic style that runs throughout his Sound_Variation series. The four-track EP also aligns Vaz's music more closely with the stunning African House style of his Background Records' artist Portable. All such traits emerge on the opener "-6-6 [re-] visited" but if, as the title seems to suggest, Vaz is using Sound_Variation 6-6 as source material he's radically transformed it, as its up-tempo swing is in stark contrast to the more deliberate pace of the other, and its bounce similar to that found in Portable's music. The mid-tempo 4/4 of "First Aid Course" is deepened by phantom chords, electro bass lines, and a hi-hat pattern that nicely offsets the regulated pulse of the bass drum. Again Vaz, like Portable, adds layer upon layer to make the piece dense and intricate without ever sacrificing its fundamental propulsiveness. "Inscrutable Insects" is an apt title, given the querulous electronic noises and syncopated percussion patterns that flutter about. Here, as well as on the concluding "Dark Inclination," layered patterns interweave while a bass drum pulse propels the piece forward. Ultimately, what most distinguishes First Aid Course is the accomplished manner by which it seamlessly marries the exuberance and rhythmic complexity of African music with the heavier and more straightforward propulsion of minimal techno.