Chris Malinchak – Ironbound EP

Ironbound, the new five-track EP from Chris Malinchak on French Express, is a pleasure-inducing tour of hi-hats, vocal chops, and 90’s dance sounds. This is slow house, but will leave sweat dripping down the walls of most clubs. That’s important, because he plays U Street Music Hall on May 26th.

The release opens with “There I Was (Again),” a reversion of his popular track released in January. The reversion is a welcome update, not least of all because it’s missing the sample/interpolation of Diplo’s “Look At Me Now” beat. Aren’t you glad these reviews come with such opinionated nerdery?

Instead, “There I Was (Again)” is full of phased and flanged and filtered vocals that would make Alan Braxe blush. And the breakdown we get? So satisfying. Starts with some really simple electric piano pads, but quickly gets interrupted by aggressive vocal chops that build into a nice sustained groove to finish out the track.

A quick tour through the other tracks:

Brooklyn Bounce” does just that – the thin synthesized drum kit bounces and stutters across the track while the vocal samples yell out “Two-step!” Malinchak adds in some nice sub-bass and airy synths to round things out.

One of the standout tracks on Ironbound is “Fuego.” As a sucker for global group vocals, this track feels un-hateable, but if that doesn’t do it for you then the throw-back 90’s horn/organ stabs should.

Razor 2.0” uses white noise to great effect in its synth lines, making the whole track feel much larger and more… epic. Combined with the vocals that sound like they were sampled through a walkie-talkie, the track risks taking things a turn for the lo-fi but Malinchak balances it out with exquisite engineering on the other synths and drum line. The production feels clean, strong.

The closer on the EP is “Kuzari.” The sonar whine and organ (which serves double duty as synth and bass) move the track through with purpose. The vocals are quite literally crying out with aspiration “I wanna be.” The only downside is the synth line at the end of the track gets so little play. Someone should really make use of it in a remix.

In the DC area? Check out Chris on May 26th with Oliver.

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