On this Strange Rabbits LP we find James Donadio - he of Prostitutes fame - resurrecting an old alias. The recent reboot of his excellently-monikered StabUdown Productions allows Donadio to explore a space in which techno, electro, braindance and ambient intersect. The stargazing vistas Strange Rabbits recall classic Detroit styles, but the wacky aesthetic and leftfield production choices veer more towards labels like bbbbb and Trip.
Staff note from Clinton:
Prostitutes guy in mellow and melodic mode. 10 cuts of subtly ecstatic, glistening and gleaming house/techno.
LP £19.99 DIAG048LP
LP on Diagonal featuring artwork by Bráulio Amado and Guy Featherstone. Mastered and cut at D&M. Limited edition of 275 copies incl. a giant A1 foldout poster.
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Cleveland, Ohio producer James Donadio operates under a couple of rather snappy monikers. The one you're most likely to be familiar with is Prostitutes - a handle which he's used for some mighty fine records released on Opal Tapes, Digitalis Recordings, Spectrum Spools, Mira, Night School and Diagonal among others. StabUdown is the name of a label he’s been using to put stuff out since 2006 and the last we heard from him production wise under the alias was a 12” EP on the label in 2018. Prior to that a split EP on Diagonal with Koehler where they each took turns remixing each other's tracks.
So I guess you could say I’m pretty familiar with this guys output and indeed happen to own some of his records. But if you’d have played me his latest for Diagonal - the ‘Strange Rabbits' LP, I would never have guessed it was Donadio and his machines. Now that I do know that fact It kinda makes sense, but it’s somewhat of a departure for him stylistically - relatively speaking.
What we get are 10 cuts of subtly ecstatic, glistening and gleaming house and techno - a world away from the violent connotations the artist name suggests and his much grubbier output as Prostitutes. He’s in a far more melodic mode here, opening with glassy chiming intro ‘Shimmering Bomb’ then into the infectious boom of ‘Teenage Scream Dreamer’. Donadio has always had a knack for mesmerizing grooves which is even more apparent here as the dirt is washed away and things are left to sparkle a little. ‘Lean Brute’ lets loose like a daydreaming b-boy with its’ skeletal hip hop/electro rhythm while ‘Wizard Upholstery’ utilizes the type of vocal sample and bleeping melody you would have heard back in the day in early UK house music while ‘Totally Coral Reefer’ has an early FSOL chill out ambient techno/house vibe. ‘Neu Orgre’ is the sort of stomper that wouldn’t be out of place on a very early ‘90s Strictly Rhythm 12” or something you might hear DJ Sprinkles drop. ‘Phased n Diffused’ is a fine cut of spiralling house that’s destined to get bodies moving, willingly or not. ‘Warm Woods’ sounds as though it could have a snatched sliver of disco running through its electro-core, while ‘Pool Jumper’ ups the energy with its acidic bubbling and crunchy claps. ‘Koln Alone’ winds things down in a more sombre melancholy vibe - the party’s over and all that’s left are a few gurning stragglers and a dancefloor strewn with empty bottles and the odd dubious looking little plastic bag.
It’s a fine selection of tracks for the small hours and particularly the bleary-eyed after hours with nods to oldskool influences but still feels very contemporary and more than an exercise in mere nostalgia. Great to hear another dimension and vibe from this guy.
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