Editors' pick

Tittsworth

Dance/Electronic
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Editorial Review

TITTSWORTH & ALVIN RISK
Album review: "2 Strokes Raw"

The pace at which the District has become one of the country’s hotbeds of electronic music has increased exponentially in the past year, with U Street Music Hall serving as a home base and incubator. “Two Strokes Raw,” a new EP from locals Tittsworth and Alvin Risk, is a four-song crash course in the sounds that regularly blast from U Hall’s soundsystem. It’s an entire sweaty night at the city’s cornerstone club condensed to 17 thumping minutes.

Opening track “Pandejas” finds the pair tackling moombahton, the locally born genre that slows down the beats-per-minute pace while favoring slightly off-kilter, herky-jerky rhythms. The song starts with what sounds like someone gasping for breath, which is perhaps predictive of the relentless rattling that follows. A few siren-fueled buildups suggest chaotic climaxes, but Tittsworth and Risk pull back, favoring a steady surge instead of predictable payoff. The same goes for “Porchacheese,” a hard techno masher that’s interesting for its weird gurgles and whooshes as well as its propulsive throbbing.

“On Carta Boost” the duo tackles another regional sound — Baltimore club — and gets an assist from one of its creators, Scottie B. Instead of sirens, it’s a dial tone that provides the beeping sound that expertly trickles over stilted beats.

“La Campana” recalls the sweaty sounds of M.I.A.’s “Kala,” thanks in large part to vocals by Maluca Mala. Her occasional hollers accompany booming beats and what sounds like serious synthesizer warfare.

--David Malitz, May 20, 2011