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Thursday, 23 January 2014

4Clubbers (UK) review my "It's Now Over" album...

"These days it seems a ‘secret’ project is ever more popular, but ever harder to keep under wraps. In the case of Spencer Parker, you’d actually wonder why there’d be the need, given his austere taste and raw productions, across a clutch of essential labels like Rekids, Tsuba, Buzzin’ Fly and Ovum. But he managed to hoodwink much of his audience by keeping his involvement with the It’s Not Over project firmly under wraps for over two years. 
Come 2014, the big reveal comes wrapped in a send-off that encapsulates much of the project, with a fresh clutch of mixes along for the ride. The result is an all-encompassing entry for the uninitiated, and a collector’s piece for its many fans.

It’s hard to pick out highlights or standouts when each track is of such striking quality, but from the outset of CD1, ‘Late At Night’s rough-hewn percs and pared-back melodic twines set the scene for a nine-strong outing of all the 12” releases. The beauty of It’s Not Over’s existence has been Parker’s shackle-free approach, unencumbered by any expectations borne by his name, and right across the disc there are moments of joy in house music in its purest forms. ‘East Pointe’s twinned keys/piano/bass patterns that hypnotise and envelop, ‘Collective Consciousness’ throbbing percussive nucleus and ‘The Institute’s metallic stabs and copper hits, hanging in a haze of glowing white noise. Each track has its own motif, subtle, developing characters or stark statement, none more so than the emblematic ‘Brotherhood’, a staple of Parker’s sets, built as it is on momentous drum layers, bass note and that vocal.

The bonus is the second disc, with exclusive tracks from the It’s Not Over cache, be they new cuts or reworks of the vinyl releases. Here we see different approaches, such as ‘East Pointe’s Beatless emergence, ‘Belle Ville’s UFO Mix, stripped of its vocal, now supplanted by a haunting synth line, and wonderful angle on ‘Brotherhood’, with the Roland Street Instrumental losing the vocal but gaining a lush, looped pair of competing leads. New tracks ‘Industrial Rhythm’, with its comparatively welcoming chords and fizzing low end, and the majestic ‘3000E’s honed arps and plump, throbbing toms prove none of the fire’s been lost over the course of the three years in secret. As an entity, the two discs act as a retrospective of one of house music’s more interesting and aurally rewarding studies of recent years, and more than anything reflect the dancefloor love of an artist clearly at the top of their game."