Lyon-based beatsmith Ethyène has patented a certain style of mid-tempo house music, applying a french touch aesthetic to disco, r&b and hip-hop sample references. Through releases on longtime underground favorite Kolour LTD and upstart labels like Kyoku, as well as contributions to his own Moonrise Hill Material, the Frenchman has quickly built a sought after discography. His collaboration with Better Listen comes at an interesting time, as he seems to really be refining his sound, maturing sonically and honing the synthesis of the aforementioned influences to something nicely unique. The Playin With Fire EP is a deliciously bittersweet four track affair. The A1 slot sees E joining forces with his homie, the much acclaimed Folamour, for the superlative "Why My Love". Meanwhile, "Loneliness of the Shadow Dancer" continues the r&b cream vibes, combining a classic head-nodding hip-hop flip with a soul chorus. The B-side gets a bit moodier, with the title track climatically building on hypnotically deep riffs and vocals and "I Sold Yayo to Buy Kicks" serving as the Bob James-esque closer. The package is a cohesive reflection of a pensive and slightly anguished mindstate, with boom bap cultural influences and his familiar Philadelphia streets functioning as the canvas. Don't be surprised if this record serves as a point of stylistic elevation for the young producer, with plenty more of this new ammunition in the chamber. And you know the saying: if you play with fire, you might turn into a scorching hot phoenix.