REVIEW Baby Rollén ‘Love Potion’ [Slump Recordings]

London-based Slump Recordings’ founder Baby Rollén presents the label with a first release – Love Potion spans through UK Dance Classics, Acid House and Balearic Breaks, offering a 4-track selection of nostalgic club sounds with a contemporary adaptation.

Thank you for calling the location information line. Here are your meeting points: London Bridge, Southwark Bridge.”

Kicking off with this line, the A1 side of the EP emanates techno trancey vibrations within a specific location (London). The evolution of ‘Onion Cake’ suggests an ode to Rave Culture, presenting a progression of spacey chords and a rolling bassline that enrapture the audience from the start through to the end. The sound has a typical UK trademark, ranging from acid house and breakbeat to 90s trance and techno; to stress the location further, here Baby Rollén samples the voice of a young man from South London, whose words describe the feeling after taking the drug ecstasy. There are several references to euphoria-enhancers (“drugs, sex”), which combined with the sounds, are relevant cultural aspects of the track.

As the closing track on the first side, Planet B differs significantly from the ravey Onion Cake. Starting with a Balearic Summer melody, it gradually gathers sonic sheets of breaks, claps, piano keys, and acid tones. The apex is met with a heavier percussive sound, followed by a man’s imperceptible words and a trance-inducing distorted noise. Interestingly, it is noticeable how the track’s title shows through at the end when the climax is broken by the sweet chirping of birds. If Onion Cake felt like an ode to Rave Culture, Planet B is certainly suggesting a celebration of our Earth and the importance of preserving it.

Denoting the title of the EP, Love Potion is the perfect cure for club lovers. From the beginning, rapturing trancey sounds are met with an acceleration of a jabbing acid trot, which halts at the familiar sound of House music choruses. Unlike the voices sampled in the previous tracks, Love Potion features the singing of a woman, whose words keep entangling in a build-up of garage-like breaks and electro beats. A “na na” pitch mimics that in Objekt’s Theme From Q, merging with the snapping of fingers and electro breaks. Here, Baby Rollén beautifully puts together UK-centric club sounds, which are notable in Love Potion’s strong peak moments and dance music drops.

Submarine Mammals concludes the backside submersing itself deep beneath the murky ocean, where the rolling waves are too far to agitate the lives of the mystical creatures inhabiting these large bodies of water. Fiercely welcomed by Ransom Note headquarters, this B2 side generously presents deep emotional electro characterised by Drexciya-like aquatic stabs. Muddy drums give start to what is to become an unfolding of spacey claps and underwater beats, marked by the use of a filtering effect; the appearance of acid-twisted keys follow the latter, sporting a similar sound to Jaguar Ma’s Another Day in the Sun. It is deeply moving, yet harsh on the kicks.

With this solo recording, Baby Rollén confidently represents a tradition of UK dance music. A fusion of nostalgic club sounds blends with driving rhythms, existing somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow. There is a celebration of the past with a forward-leaning attitude, making Love Potion an unmissable release this year.

Love Potion EP was released on 5th February 2021 on Slump Recordings.

Words by Iman Cavargna-Sani