Toronto electronic music collective Bedroomer have put together a compilation that focuses on more uptempo, club-ready tracks – at least in comparison to their more chilled-out previous offerings. Main-Room bounces around a variety of dance genres, although most of the 14 cuts are influenced in some way by frenetic Chicago footwork rhythms. Think busy kick drum programming, fast tempos that suddenly drop to half-time, creepy synth melodies and plenty of sped-up helium vocal samples.
Despite the compilation’s party-rocking mandate, there are plenty of references to the weirder end of electronic music, and some of the more successful tracks are closer to downtempo, like the laid-back groove of Philthkids’ Deep Space or the intricate IDM breakbeats of Dan Only’s Nano Steps.
On the other end of the spectrum, Sleepycatt’s Bring Them Out and f(x)’s All Mine (#MANICURED) recall hazy memories of early hardcore rave anthems. The chopped-up classic breakbeats and giddy chipmunk vocals might be a bit too 90s-retro for some listeners, but those tracks are offset by plenty of other songs built around contemporary hip-hop and dancehall influences.
There’s not a lot here for house and techno fans, but it’s quite possible that Bedroomer will give those rhythms their own compilation in the future. Many of the tracks show a fair amount of electro influence, but more on the 90s end of that sound than the original 80s flavours or the 00s revival.
Bringing together a bunch of Toronto producers to do impressions of a very Chicago-specific sub-genre is always going to be risky, and dedicated fans of footwork beats will likely question the authenticity of much of this compilation. However, Main-Room’s appeal lies in the unpredictability and eclecticism that come from those reinterpretations.
Top track: Nano Steps (Dan Only)
Bedroomer celebrate the release of Main-Room on Saturday (February 18) at Smiling Buddha with DJ Paypal. See listing.