Friday 1 July 2011


I've just heard the house duo sensation 2 Bears on Radio 1 chatting to Pete Tong. I was going to see them at Glastonbury, but got inevitably sidetracked by I don't know what.

Made up of Raf Rundell (aka Greco-Roman Soundsystem) and Joe Goddard (one part of Hot Chip), they're set to be pretty big this year. Their shared enthusiasm for house music, discovered whilst sharing DJ booths on various club nights, led to plans for collaboration - and eventually it happened. Thus 2 Bears was born. Have a listen to their wonderful union in the form of their new EP (released 20th June).

From the very beginning of the moody, tribal house vibrations of 'Take A Look Around', softened with pop vocals, gradually becoming full of energy thanks to a disco lifted hi-hat, to the beat-heavy bass minimalism erupting in 'Banger', beautiful in its repetition as much as in its progression, with new sounds being added in every part - a new bassline, erratic snare, or the strange electro euphoria of its breakdown; the Bear Hug EP is something special.

Sped-up twisted Hot Chip-esque sounds at the beginning of the eponymous 'Bear Hug' give way to a strangely nonchalant-aggressive spoken word vocal, expressing and espousing the virtues of having a bear hug: "We've brought you all a gift for maximum dancefloor uplift, it's called a bear hug" Halfway through Joe Goddard's distinctive voice comes in to provide a wonderfully gentle few bars of singing before the "bear hug" refrain comes back in. Catchy, unusual, a tad frightening, but what a thing it would've been to hear this song at one of their sets at The Hub in Shangri-La last week. Oh well.

The epic dance flavours of 'In My Brain Is Like A Computer' explode throughout the 5 minutes this song plays and it's my personal favourite. I love everything about it, from the incessant clapping and cowbelling at the beginning, to then the dulled euphoria tones of the aggressive piano chords (could be a giant keyboard, in reference to the song's title) and the "oohh... aahhh" vocal sample, bringing a softness to such a hard sound. Just before the halfway mark the song drops entirely, bringing everything together with some monstrously relentless wobbly bass. The last 2 minutes of the song, following another flay-you-alive kind of breakdown, are frantically calling you up to dance. Near-perfection in terms of unique house music.

Like what you hear? Check 2 Bears on SoundCloud

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