Heatsick, Re-Engineering

Abby Garnett

By Abby Garnett

on 12.04.13 in Reviews

If New York and Berlin-based label PAN, home to the likes of Lee Gamble and SND, is a hub for musical cross-pollination, then Steven Warwick, the mind behind Heatsick, is its resident Puck — an indefinable smart-aleck with an aim to gently provoke. A Casio wiz with a wide-ranging skill for emulation, Warwick mixes composed figures with improvisation in his live sets, a technique he used to blissful effect on 2012′s Déviation EP. On Re-Engineering, his latest, most compact effort, he tunes his ear to Eurodisco, acid house and samba to explore the concept of DJ tools for club play.

Turning to Eurodisco, acid house and samba

Warwick’s creations are most appetizing when served with a dash of self-awareness (the industry-spoofing “Watermark”), a strength that helps him wink suggestively at institutions like British radio and the aging dance-club culture that informs his music. “Speculative” squirms under smokey lounge ornamentation, while “Mimosa” has a kitschy Afro-Cuban topcoat, and the lightly funky title track paraphrases William Carlos Williams in a deadpan spoken-word piece (“a poem is a machine made out of words”). That piece is later reprised on “Accelerationista” amid chittering birdsong, and alongside the hypnotic “Dial Again,” it sounds like an invitation either to call back, or disconnect entirely.