Insomnia-inspired “Late Out Tonite” deceptively begins like a house and dance track with wobbly synths, plenty of reverb and a thumping bass drum. But hold on tight; the rhythm quickly morphs into a mashup of jazz-infused guitar strums and delicate cymbal taps led by a mellow, hollow vocal. The hypnotic cadence of the whining guitar slides, subterranean synth sounds and bass lashes will make any old set of headphones sound like a space dancehall.
Even though the song is not meant for late night dance parties (the beats are simply too slow for any butt-shaking) the roots of the sounds and rhythms are of dance-house origins. The sparsely laid out production and lonely crystal-textured vocals echo the naked and effective production work of German minimalist dance band, The Whitest Boy Alive. “Late Out Tonite” is a stripped-down version of a bigger, dance version of itself, which is what makes this song so enticing. More rhythms and grinding percussions, more obnoxious in-your-face abandon, these are all sacrificed for empty beauty and post-modern house-pop bliss before the first bars. The track is an exercise in artistic restraint that succeeds in delighting listeners open to the challenge.
The song’s lyrics are poetically structured and soulfully repeated. “it’s late out tonite/there will be no warning/it’s late out tonite/i will wait until…” One of the most memorable portions of the song is when the groove is dragged down to the very end, where the instruments coalesce into a set of waddling keystrokes and bass licks. The spectre of sleeplessness looms heavy at the end of the song, “…like a demon in the dark/…like a demon, I will come for you.”
Fans of house music or even trippy dance rhythms will be challenged but sold on "Late Out Tonite."
Review by Michael Morgan
Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)
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