DJ Will Roc: The Chronicles of W. Clarke EP
It's been going on for a good while, sure, but it seems right now that Baltimore club music is scattering in many directions at once. It's not that it's fragmenting or diluting, but the range of experimentation in club is, frankly, awesome. Hybrids galore: 410 Pharaohs doing club/hip-hop; King Tutt doing club/electro-house, Blaqstarr doing club/R&B. And then there's DJ Will Roc, making some of the most left-field stuff in the genre.
There are many ways you could put just how weird these tracks are in the span of club music but, mostly, it's just that the net effect of it is different. The pieces of traditional club are there, sure, but even at its most slamming, Will Roc's stuff is introspective, dare say even ethereal. This is like Eno-influenced club music, if you can get your head around that one. The title track off this past summer's 3 Miles From Nowhere EP, with its outer atmosphere drifting synth line, is about the most glazed this writer's ever gotten in a dance track this side of minimal techno.
Not far behind 3 Miles comes this fall's Chronicles of W. Clark EP, what appears to be Roc's fourth release this year, including one with Unruly supergroup Chavy Boys of London. Chronicles feels almost techno, not in the electro/blog-house sense of much export and out-of-town imitation club music, but zone-y, hypnotic acid house. Credit much of that to Roc's use of synthesizers. "Outta Control," with a beat odd enough in and of itself, buzzes with the sort of synth sound that gets lodged right behind your forehead. Ditto "I Luv Muzik" and its weirdo, just-falling-out-of-tune synth fuckery.
The samples are different, too--softer, mixed-down, non-aggressive. The computer voiced "looking, searching, stereo sound" sample loop of "Stereo Sound" is odd enough that it feels like a pointed rejection of club music norms. Working airy, fluttery synths into the song's cracks, he tends to Say Wut's "Keep Rockin'" in a similar mindset: even a floor-friendly producer like Say Wut can be re-purposed into Will Roc's peculiar club dreamworld.