This week, dirtybird boss Claude VonStroke released his third full album, Urban Animal. The release is well-timed, with VonStroke and the rest of his dirtybird compadres currently riding an enormous wave of success after a prolific summer of festival tours and hit releases. The dirtybird name has become widely recognizable and synonymous with their own brand of unique house music featuring playful, bouncing bass. With Urban Animal, this is just what VonStroke delivers.
The Urban Animal concept is inspired by the contemporary city dweller who is stuck in the daily 9-5 grind and finds release in warehouse parties and on dark club dancefloors. This album would not be a bad soundtrack for such liberation: it feels like a trip through a carnival funhouse complete with lighthearted house vibes, cheeky samples, and weirdly warped vocals. It doesn’t just stick to house, either—only a few of the tracks follow the traditional 4/4 beat, and the rest incorporate elements of booty bass, hip hop, downtempo, and drum & bass.
The album’s best tracks are also the most unique. In Oakland Rope, VonStroke puts his touch on drum & bass with the help of dub reggae vocals from Fox and Py. The Clapping Track is a casually fun house track with layers of samples including an organ, hands clapping, and crowds cheering. Dood, which was released as a free download last month, has the biggest fun house vibe with wacky vocal samples and an oozing bassline.
As a whole, though, the album feels less like a complete piece of work and more of a scattered collection of tracks. Most songs are not particularly exciting on their own or within the context of the album, but would do quite well mixed into a DJ set. Not to worry—they will surely find their way into many a dirtybird DJ set in the near future.
This fall, VonStroke is touring the US to support the album with fellow dirtybird gal J.Phlip. Check out the dates below: