DJ Boring – ‘Like Water’ EP review: challenging club tunes to cure dancefloor deprivation

The producer's first EP in two years is full of undeniable but unconventional bangers that veer between house, techno and trance

The four tracks on DJ Boring’s first EP in two years were actually never meant to be heard. Well, not like this at least. Originally created to be played exclusively in his live show, this collection was poised to be festival smashers only. But, as an act of fan service, the Melbourne-born London-based producer’s fun and energetic four-tracker is the perfect lockdown gift for anyone suffering dancefloor deprivation.

While there are some undeniable club bangers here – taking in funk, trance, Chicago house and Detroit techno – these unravelling trips (ranging from six-and-a-half-minutes to just over nine) are comparatively more complex than the hazy pumpers Hallis would upload to SoundCloud in his teenage years. Having broken through during 2016’s lo-fi house boom – alongside Mall Grab, DJ Seinfeld and Ross From Friendswhen his fuzzy Winona Ryder-sampling roller ‘Winona’ unexpectedly blew up on YouTube, the underground favourite has since DJ’d worldwide and released several EPs – including 2017’s ‘Hidden Messages’ via E-Beamz and 2018’s ‘For Than’ on Bristol label Shall Not Fade.

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But ‘Like Water’ – made between studios in London and Devon – is DJ Boring’s most developed offering yet. With each twist and turn, sounds are built up, dismantled and then re-layered. Thanks to its bubbling vocal and gradually stomping rhythm, the deceptively uplifting title track is an ideal opener, while ‘Another Day’ becomes the EP’s punchy yet melodic highlight. With its squelchy synths and acid beams rocketing skywards, it’s a peak-time-primed club screamer that’ll pack similar power when completing the most mundane of domestic tasks. Nostalgic closer ‘Seems Like Yesterday’, meanwhile, forms the epic yet emotive finale, its fusion of drum pad percussion and transportive breakbeats building into a 90s-rave-indebted trance anthem.

The penultimate track, ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, is the most challenging, but no less danceable. Starting with soothing vinyl crackles, steadily-building synths and a pulsing kick drum are soon added into the mix before everything’s overrun by warped robotic bleeps. Although the unusual concoction – which later incorporates brooding church-like organ synths – sounds like R2-D2 bugging out, Hallis’ clever juxtaposition of disparate sonics slot together surprisingly well.

Unafraid to veer off in multiple directions – and often at the same time – these subtly challenging club tunes prove Hallis knows exactly when to go all in, pull back and, most importantly, pause.

Details

  • Release date: June 12
  • Record label: Technicolour/Ninja Tune
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