Item - Stammer EP

by Shannon Smith

Item, otherwise known as Liam Monsell, defines himself as an unsigned Exeter-based “house/garage/electronic producer/DJ”. His nine track EP, Stammer, can be seen as a manifesto of Item’s range as a house producer. The EP highlights the potential Item has a producer possess.

The EP starts off with Rise, a definitely chill house track. From the three solitary bleeps before the track begins, there is a definitive sense created by Item that this EP will be a listening experience. The haunting techno baseline and slow build-up acts a perfect way to start of the Stammer experience. This chilling tone provides the track with a surprising recognisance (for this reviewer anyways) with 1990’s dance icons Faithless. Throughout the entire album actually there are glimmers of late-90s and early-2000s influences – of which I am rather fond. This chill house tone moves through into the next track, Ghost, but the tempo and toning increase so that Ghost is pitched at near perfection.

My favourite track on Stammer was Cantgoback, whose production was extremely smooth, and highlighted the potential of Item as an artist. From the increased tempo, the hummer of the snarls sound and the exaggerated auto tuned voice singing out – the layering of the track is artistically commendable. The reason this track works is that from my personal point of view that it highlights the efforts Item has gone to without seeming overworked. Later tracks on the album, Say Yeah and Six And Eight were good, but after Cantgoback seemed a little redundant and slightly overworked. Although this does not mean they were awful, each track has elements of artistic vision – My Life was a welcomed variety from the main list or the high energy of Movement (pardon that terrible pun). If the order of the album were slightly different, with Cantgoback featuring in the latter half, Stammer would finish on a higher note.

Whilst I enjoyed listening to Stammer, I could not help but feeling that Item did not provide us with the spectrum of his abilities as a producer, or with anything after CantGoBack that stood out to me as a listener. Through the nine-track Stammer, it is clear that Item has the potential for prominence, and clearly he should start to get fan traction from this EP. Stammer has acted as a good jumping off point with a clear vision established, but Item has the capabilities to produce greater things.