Hieroglyphic Being: Guidance/Direction E.P.

Apnea, 2007

Jamal Moss is a prolific producer of gritty, retro Chicago house, mainly under the pseudonyms Hieroglyphic Being and The Sun God. As part of the groups Africans With Mainframes, Chicago Bad Boys, and I.B.M. he’s helped usher in a revival of lo-fi acid-tinged tracks. Most of his records intentionally sound like they’ve been dubbed one too many times on compact cassette. The basslines are simple and quiet, putting emphasis on boosted high pitches which wheel around in slightly distorted ecstasy. This latest EP for Madrid’s Apnea label sees Moss expanding his sound. While “I Got Enough Love 4 U & Me” is in the same vein as his earlier work, with whooping treble and eighties bleeps, “Kilometer Zero” feels entirely new. It’s a denser style, with oscillating tones over a bed of drum machine snares and (later) kick drum. The notes stutter and distort with tape drop-outs, creating infinite dubby textures. As much as I’ve enjoyed Moss’ previous 12-inches, I find this new direction much more exciting.

4/5 stars

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