The Munich-based ‘Ruffhouse Industries’ lives up to its namesake. Whether it’s the label’s eclectic library of gritty cuts for the jaded urbanist, or their commitment to showcasing the weird and wonderful diversity across electronic music, the gruff German outfit seems set on double-licking the envelope before pushing it.
The above is why Alex Index, a Copenhagen-based DJ and producer with one foot planted in the UK, seems to have found the appropriate home for his latest EP: ‘Four Point Five’. Esoteric and experimental, the release winds an unusual path through Techno, Funky, Electro and Progressive territory and, in perhaps the best way possible, seems to constantly shake neat classification across the six tracks on offer (four originals, two remixes).
The record kicks off with ‘Elvish Ways’, aptly named as an obscure, atypical track with arcane vocals, delayed snares and swelling synths weaving their way throughout the composition. With its various ebbs and flows, Elvish Ways serves as a revealing introductory offering, setting the stage for the remainder of the pressing. The first track is quickly followed up by an artillery blast in ‘Drums for Days’, a percussive piece led by marching snares, timpani-like thuds and discordant, woody stabs ala Randomer.
Right as the EP seems to be brought to boil it is tastefully segued into the cosmic, yet no less driving ‘No Connection’. An inventive blend of lamented, pitched vocals, rolling motifs that swell back and forth between phrases and unorthodox sound selection makes for a song that stays firmly within the record’s ethos, whilst remaining equally prominent as the most accessible listen on the record.
Comparisons in style on ‘No Connection’ could be made to Otherliine (a duo comprised of George Fitzgerald and Lil Silva) and their remix of Ghetts’ ‘Mozambique’—as one of my most played tracks in the last few months, this is certainly no bad comparison. As the EP’s original tracks draw to a close the eponymous track, ‘Four Point Five’, chooses to leave the listener in a state of decisive tension. With Pangaea-esque flourishes that conjure up stylings typical of Hessle Audio’s golden age, the cut is sinister and dissociative, flirting with bass music whilst retaining its identity as a clattering, industrial banger.
At four tracks, Alex Index shows off an impressive arsenal of sonic control, exploring the murky ‘between territories’ of bass and dance music. His international musical influences are on full display and lend themselves superbly to his craft; a neat four tracks demonstrating a commitment to exploration, regardless of genre.
The EP is also footnoted by two impressive remixes of featured tracks: Circuit 900’s remix of Four Point Five explores the title track in new light, teasing out its more progressive elements with meandering, stringy leads, warping basses and choir stabs on the flanks. Attentive stereo work is administered throughout and is an excellent accompaniment for the new flavours on this reflip. Jossy Mitsu (who I can only assume is a reference to one of my favourite Tekken characters, ‘Yoshimitsu’) tasked themselves with crafting a driving, uptempo take on Index’s intro track. The results are brash, noisy and chaotic—an excellent counterpart to the more introspective original.
Alex Index’s latest offering is a dive into experimental territory. With several different looks, Four Point Five is sonic pageantry at its grittiest, seeing industrial flavours married to a host of established dance music genres. ‘Ruffhouse Industries’ seems an appropriately named host: the release is technical, industrial and there’s even a bit of house thrown in there too.
You can check out the full release below: