SOUNDS LIKE: Digweed, Dubfire, SCI +TEC, and minimal techno D.C. darkness-to-goodness
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because you’re a good locavore with both WANTS (read: to better understand D.C. dance music) and NEEDS (read: to hear this played over UHall’s massive system)
Once upon a time, local hometown boys Ali “Dubfire” Shirazinia and Sharam Tayebi, known to most of the world as Deep Dish, defined a solid slice of the D.C. club sound and a thriving scene growing around the pillars of the massive umbrella sound known to most as progressive house, or simply, “progressive.” Spawning the Yoshitoshi Recordings label and legendary (now defunct) Georgetown record store by the same name, amassing a loyal audience and a burgeoning cadre of local-to-global DJs, the savvy firebrands helped raise D.C.’s dance profile under the international spotlight. By the mid-aughts, the Persian pair stayed busy but scattered, settling into divergent solo projects and sounds, while D.C.’s tech house scene fizzled into the background as funky disco house and indie electro-pop ruled the dance floors.
That is, until now.
From the glowing embers of yore rises the shadowy, minimal, slightly menacing sound of PENTAMON – a mysterious local producer working under a fittingly veiled, Inside-the-Beltway-appropriate moniker. PENTAMON’s latest release, the two-track Among the Thugs EP, dropped this Tuesday and comes in at under 12 minutes – just enough time, it turns out, to be taken back to carefree late nights (read: mornings), during an era when slowly building continuously mixed sets to a near-tantric climax -- over six, eight, sometimes ten hours – was both high art and everyday life.
Like most music of that era and style, Among the Thugs works phenomenally in the earbuds when cranking out work at the office, but it is made to blossom afterhours on the dance floor – the louder, later, and heavier, the better. The title track is perfectly calibrated for massive peak-hour bliss, while “Skywarp” fits stunningly into a steady ascension up the mountain. As both mesmerizing tracks would fit right at home on tech-friendly giant John Digweed’s weekly Transitions radio show or on Dubfire’s latest minimal-techno SCI + TEC label, we hope that PENTAMON’s own sights are indeed set on nothing short of global conquest. The latest EP has already started the head turning. Not to fear: Those of us hunkered down in the District will be glad to know that the current administration – high-wattage-pumping, cork-floored favorite venue of boom, UHall – is on message as well, ready to deliver with master precision.
Come see the person behind the PENTAMON at the September 7 release party @ the 9:30 Club Backbar, with openers Sami Y and Pat Jagla.