Alistair Gibbs (Nebraska to you and me) makes rich, well-crafted house music filled with frequent flourishes of highly-veneered, triumphant hooks and deep, pulsating bass. Although not the most revolutionary combination of sounds, Gibbs execution compensates for a lack of sonic innovation, making for a solid addition to Rush Hour records reputable back catalogue.
Gibbs hasn’t made a large departure from the mixture of well-judged deep-house progressions, sensuous electronica and frequent bursts of looped disco he exhibited on the series of EP’s that preceded ‘Displacement’. However in this case, Gibbs’ decision to stick to what he knows, for the most part, succeeds. Although, choosing not to drastically alter his sound or greatly manipulate the formulaic parts of modern house music, doesn’t exactly ensure longevity, Gibbs decision to instead, hone his production has resulted in moments which indicate admirable success on the dancefloor.
A prime example of this, ‘The Mountains’, includes a subtle spaced-out foundation with a full-toned bass-line so deep it sounds as if it’s emanating from your neighbour’s basement. Add to this, your customary compressed hand-claps and gloriously optimistic piano part and you have simple but undeniably effective contemporary house. It’s certainly been done before but when it’s done this well there’s little to dispute with. ‘You and I’ treads a similar path but sees the first glimpse of vocals, which sound initially grating but are saved by Gibbs acute awareness of which parts translate best to a loop as the looped falsetto refrain chosen proves; adding soul to the sun-kissed nature of the backing. The aforementioned ‘You and I’ along with ‘The Mountains’, mark an exhilarating peak which Gibbs builds to and comes down from smoothly and effectively. From that peak of exotic, dance-friendly house Gibbs descends into dreamy ambience on ‘The Cruives’ which keeps Gibbs consistently urgent, beat-driven basis but mellows the feel slightly, recalling Lone or even Oriol’s recent work in the process.
However, when Gibbs deviates from these lines, it doesn’t pay off. On ‘Aitch Aitch’, the nicely muted cosmic improvisations aren’t combined well at all with the overpowering bass, despite the fact the track does fulfil its worth as a necessary interlude. Although this exposes Gibbs lack of versatility, ‘Borgie Boogie’ and ‘Characteristics’ highlight his appealing ability of drifting between coherence and seemingly distant, sonorously deep sounds. And it is this, along with his evident prowess at assembling gratifying loops alongside warm, lush, crisp production that ensures Gibbs just about surpasses his peers.
Not entirely coherent or original but certainly proficient, Gibbs is consistent when he sticks to what he does best. It’s also nice to hear a suitable alternative to the unbearably aggravating, out-dated electro-house the chart-friendly stalwarts will inevitably continue to peddle for the rest of the summer.