FAITH’S BEHIND THE COUNTER - JANUARY SINGLES REVIEWS
New year, new vaccine-driven hopes of a return to the dancefloor peering over the horizon – and a host of brand new house wax to light up lockdown. A global smorgasbord of tasty tunes guaranteed to warm up your winter. Do you remember house?
** Single of the Month **
Zepherin Saint - Omo Chango (Tribe Records)
Hot London producer Zepherin Saint is in a rich vein of form (also check his recent Resurrection EP and stunning rework of Soul II Soul's ‘Back To Life’). But he starts 2021 with what will be at the top of any self respecting afro house chart at the end of the year with this positive, bouncing, dancefloor gem on his own Tribe imprint. Afrobeat drums, deep, warm keys, plenty of horns and enough house kick for a Faith floor. The wonderful spoken word from New York's Nikki Powerhouse implores us to dance with freedom, dance with spirt, when we can this will be one of the first records placed on a 1210.
Loose Ends - Hanging On a String (Frankie Knuckles Remixes) (South Street)
Way back in happier, simpler times the late and truly great Frankie Knuckles took an 80s London street soul classic and tastefully made one of Def Mix’s best 90s moments. One of FK's finest 'reprise ' mixes , instrumentation teases in and out of the subtle beats while on Frankie's club mix it’s beefed up drums but using all those beautiful 80s Linn drum touches that gave the original so much character . The song and Loose Ends’ vocals are without doubt one of Black London's finest ever forays into Soul and this remastered vinyl release (sadly the original pressing didnt get the mastering it deserved) brings out every inch of class from this classic. Available on 12" vinyl on the D-Store!
Crackazat ft. Rick Wade – Alfa EP (Heist Recordings)
Heist Recordings dive into 2021 with this deadly EP full of jazzy house grooves by the fast fingered synth wizard that is Crackazat. He joins the revered Heist roster for a January release of the ‘Alfa EP’ remixed by Detroit house royalty Rick Wade. Crackazat’s had outings on Freerange and Local Talk and he’s been picking up speed ever since. The EP kicks off with the title track, full of bouncing piano keys and dreamy pads with an almost other worldly vibe. It’s all-out dancefloor heat with the temperature dial on full blast. Second cut ‘Class One’ slows things down for the dance with fuzzy chords that wrap you up and keep you cosy and warm, telling you everything’s gonna be alright. ‘Tigers Eyes’ is filled with arpeggios and crunchy overtones that form an intense ride of bumping house groove. As one of the main engineers of the Detroit sound, Rick Wade goes deep as he amps up the bass and the groove, adding his own chords and guitar licks. It’s just pure class.
Billy Lo - It's The Life (Cosmocities)
The lesser lauded soulful sound of the Detroit Underground, this deep, soulful house gem from 2002 gets a much needed re-release, plus a heavy on the vibes remix from Kai Alce that dispenses with most of the vocal but creates a sublime seven minute jazz house jam.
Plus two new tracks from the Detroit trio who comprise Billy Lo (vocalist Billy Love, Darren Abrams and Darryl Tiggs). 'Do You Play Around' is reminiscent of Norma's 'Baddest Bitch', and 'Is It The Music' completes this fab EP with plenty of warm keys, flutes and horns, more jazz points than a night at Ronnie's.
Moondance - Never Found Love (Amen Remix) (Local Talk)
Sweden's finest Local Talk's first release of the year is some solid, floor friendly US flavoured trad house (with obligatory vocal sample from the queen of disco), but it's the Amen remix where things get really interesting. From the broken drum intro it's winking jazz and progresses into some Nu Yorican Soul meets Innerzone Orchestra dubtechjazzhouse joy. Essential.
Blaze - Do You Remember House (Harry Romero remix) (Slip N Slide)
We should all remember this house classic from '94 and Harry Romero delivers a proper remix, creating something new with his metallic, jackin', slightly wild pitch take from NYC. Jabs all round and back to the dancefloor lively.
Dam Swindle – Spice Run EP (Aus Music) Since the Dutch duo evolved into their Dam Swindle moniker, they have upped the ante and hopped over to the much respected AUS Music for their first outing under the new name. And what a delivery this is. The Spice Run EP has pulled on board some top talent in the form of Detroit chanteuse Nikki O, who has featured on KDJ aka Moodymann’s Mahogani Music. It’s three dancer- friendly cuts that range from afro house to deep house to jazzy beats, it’s got it all going on. Doing what they do best, the Dutch boys have once again effortlessly blended a variety of sounds.
LDNDN ‘It’s London’ (Natural Frequency)
NTS Radio mainstay LDNDN has great taste in music and regularly serves up some cracking shows for the Dalston broadcast outpost, so it’s of little surprise that he knows how to craft a decent EP. Three of the four tracks on ‘It’s London’ have had their classic deep house DNA tweaked to incorporate the right amount of weird without sacrificing any soul, while we’re also treated to one of the best moments of electro oddness we’ve heard in a while.
SONNS & The Mole ‘Space Machine’ (Machine Limited)
Loose, snaking, discoid house that balances heft with trippy tendencies, SONNS & The Mole managed to knock out ‘Space Machine’ during a jam session in LA and it shows - in the best possible way. While the shuffling rhythm tracks remain solid throughout, there’s a constantly shifting and dense mix of top lines ranging from synth riffs, vocal samples and soundscapes that make for a heady, engaging listen that sounds ‘live’. Strong afters energy.
Man Power ‘Multi Periodic Oscilliations EP’ (Love Attack)
Love Attack is the brand new label from Alan Dixon, who’s been doing damage for labels like Running Back, Permanent Vacation and Glitterbox over the past couple of years. Colour us interested. Add in Geordie producer Man Power, who you know we like, and our attention is piqued. Head for the epic ‘Cepheid Variable Part 2’ for an epic, synth-driven piece of stand-in-the-middle-of-the-dancefloor-and-shut-your-eyes tackle.
Reviewed by Terry Farley, Dean Mushin, Stuart Patterson
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