Baltimore electronic artist Nerftoss, aka John Jones from Dope Body, drops a mixtape of left field house music on the inimitable NNA Tapes. Crushed is a stream of consciousness amalgamation with live acoustic percussion, drum machines, synths and samples.
Jones pays homage to the essence of House Music while expanding upon the usual “four on the floor” kick drum with splashy high hats. Elements of Krautrock, Musique Concrète, and Ambient make their appearane, often all at once. Never dipping into cliché or mimicry, Jones refers to his influences skillfully and bends them to many ends throughout this seamless collection. Each piece moves with confidence and brevity to maintain the flow.
“Bender” is a thick slice of the prolific late producer Muslimgauze — sans dropouts and distortion. “Tapioca” has the pop edge reminiscent of more recent Cluster (or Qluster). With “Decked,” rainfall and tape speed free-fall brings to mind classics from the San Francisco Tape Music Center. “Low Highway” sounds like a Stereolab fever dream beginning with a motor-like beat and concludes with horses clomping on asphalt while a malfunctioning turntable loses its steam.
Jones’ production is fantastic throughout. Every layer of rhythm, found sound and synth drone, sits neatly within the stereo field. While maximal in approach, nothing feels cramped — there is no egging this pudding. If you are looking for lo-fi disco claps and muffled kicks, there are plenty of other places to get your Hipster House. Nerftoss assertively crushes it!