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Clavis – Art of Duplicity (Isolate)


Clavis are an act I’ve only recently tuned into after digging deep for brilliant underground music and finding their ‘Wirefire EP’ on the excellent Freerange records. Looking at the back catalogue and realising they have released on some great underground labels such as These Eyes (see recent review of the stellar Marc Romboy ‘Elka EP’) brought it together for me. When Clavis announced they were releasing an EP on Murat Uncuoglu and Alican’s label Isolate I could barely contain my excitement.

If you haven’t checked out Isolate you are missing something really special. Virtually every release has been of a quality you rarely see and to have that consistency over and over is a rare beast indeed.

The ‘Art of Duplicity EP’ is made up of three original tracks, no remixes.

Tascame‘ opens with a tribal groove, building with strong percussion and interesting echo effects to a wonderful melodic bassline. Before you know it, you’re standing in the eye of the storm staring back at the full lushness of the track that surrounds you. Big pads, nagging but simple melody, smouldering atmospherics and that brilliant bassline that develops into a lead as the arrangement develops. It’s cinematic, it’s emotional and just really very well produced. The art of simplicity is actually where ‘Tascame’ shows a lick of genius, for (as perhaps the name suggests) the parts are doubled and stick to simple but effective melodies making a deep house track that is refreshingly different, but actually moves the floor too.

The Art of Duplicity’ is even simpler than ‘Tascame’. That trademark groove is there, and the lush pads and strong bassline too. When the main element kicks in at three minutes the track defines itself into an other-worldly, ethnic deep-house groove that is so different I hardly know how to describe it. It’s musical, it’s odd, it’s quirky and it’s wonderful.

As with almost every EP it seems to me the best track is tucked away as the last, unpresumptuous and unexpected. Like a deep thinker hanging in the kitchen at a party, ‘Anteac’ is the underdog that rocked the house. It’s a variation on a theme yes, but the way ‘Anteac’ builds is just silly. I’m already totally immersed in the groove by the time the main breakdown hits. From here it’s stripped right back to the melody before building like a spring tide and roaring to shore with a rush of clear green water and a sprinkling of sea spray. 

This EP is, if you forgive the cliche, all killer no filler. Pretty much not a foot has been put wrong. If there is any justice in the world this will be a massive release. Even if it isn’t it further concretes the reputation of Clavis as one of, if not THE act to watch in 2020 for deep, lustrous house music.

I do feel like Clavis are still developing their unique sound and I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens down the line.

Score: 9/10

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