Faith fanzine's monthly round up of essential HOUSE listening. To paraphrase the inimitable Mike Dunn, it's 'house from all angles' this month - from classic vocal cuts to ethereal techno, via reimagined rare groove and boogie and some cosmic business.
** Single of the Month **
Lady Blackbird – Beware The Stranger (Ashley Beedle’s North West Street Mix) (Foundation)
Oh my goodness a voice from the golden age of Soul & Jazz on a reimagined classic Funk / Rare Groove song you probably danced to in its ‘Voices of East Harlem’ guise down at the Wag club (or at least your cool aunties ‘n’ uncles did) - with a super cool Ashley Beedle House mix (a man who’s on fire at the moment and a UK national treasure when it comes to underground dance music). The original production and players are top notch, out of Sunset Sound studio, Los Angeles. Ms Blackbird reminds me of Gladys Knight at times but with a modern unique tone to her beautiful voice, the piano is gorgeous and something Frankie Knuckles would have been proud of on one of his Def Mixes. Quite simply a record of the highest quality in every sense of the word: ‘So beware the stranger, Lurking in your town, Tall dark and handsome, Y’all beware, Your heart break down'
DJ Deep ‘Vaincre’ (Childhood)
DJ Deep in techno mode here but, as is often the case with his productions, this isn’t about aggression for the sake of aggression and wouldn’t be out of place in a punchy house set. ‘Vaincre’ itself leaps out here for us, with subtly rendered but complex detail and a drifting, ethereal lead offsetting the powerful groove along with judiciously employed dub delays and reverbs. Immersive, late-night business from one of the French masters.
Horse Meat Disco feat Amy Douglas & The Dames Brown – Message To The People (Glitterbox)
If it wasn’t for Lady Blackbird this could well have been single of the month as well. It’s really been a great month for vocal records, for well-produced records and well-crafted songs. The original of this is by Shirley Caesar from 1977, and I insist you get on YouTube / Spotify and get schooled now. The lady’s voice and the musical drama of the soul classic is something you need in your life. The lead on the HMD crew’s version has been admirably taken up by everyone’s favourite New York girl Amy Douglas with superb backing vocals from The Dames Browns – it’s a match made in Disco House heaven. A bunch of great mixes and remixes to choose from (Kelly G really shaking it up with Michele Obama making an appearance) but for me it’s Disco Don Danny Krivit’s 11 minute edit that takes its inspiration from the soul-soaked dramatic opening on Shirley’s OG and draws out the very best of the vocals and the fantastic instrumentation. Classy, classy timeless music and a real great transatlantic collaboration.
DJ Qu ‘Underground Spiritual’ (Strength Music)
DJ Qu’s at his best when he’s making woozy, otherworldly house cuts and that’s exactly what we’ve got here in his latest single track drop for Strength Music. Booming, shuffling beats and fever dream efx roll out while the titular, filtered vocal drifts in and out of the mix. Strong down-the-rabbit-hole energy and great for it.
David Morales & Timmy Regisford – Maka (Diridim)
A team up of New York giants that feature the divine vocals of Toshi, a singer songwriter out of South Africa whose voice range is a journey in itself, but with the Morales tribal beats (hints of David’s classic ‘Dream Lover’ remix) the whole things soars and takes Toshi to even greater heights. A bundle of different remixes to choose from, but for us its David’s ‘DIRIDIM’ mix that is the one that will grab the heads’ and the dancers’ attention, proper baby powder business for the Shelter crew.
Stinger J ‘Pretty Face’ (Isle of Jura)
Kevin Griffiths, having carved out a name for himself as the man behind the Tsuba label, has been steering his Isle of Jura imprint with a fair bit of style this past few years. The latest missive from the Australia-based outfit comes in the form of a re-release of boogie classic, Stinger J’s ‘Pretty Face’. Originally released in 1987 and featuring the glorious vocals of Jonathan Haywood, ‘Pretty Face’ has been on many a wants list for some time so, for many, it’s a welcome reissue of a track that blurs the lines between soul, disco and house and provides a true snapshot of the lineage of ‘our’ scene.
Cakes Da Killa x Proper Villains - Don Dada ( Honey Dijon & Luke Solomon Alcazar Remix ) (Classic)
New Jersey rapper who cites his influences as diverse as Buster Rhymes and Bette Midler, and who recently hit a wider audience as a contestant on Netflix’s ‘Rhythm & Flow ‘ really crosses from the Ballroom scene into the HOUSE mainstream with this glorious Hip House track . It’s got everything you want in a Hip House track: sirens, chanted vocals, a loop from an Acid House classic and Rashard Bradshaw aka Cakes great flow that perfectly rides the Honey & Luke beats like Dettori on Godolphin.
Stubb ‘Canopy’ Paperwave
After a couple of limited 12”s in 2019, Ben Davis’ Stubb project drops a magpie LP of psychedelia, world music, electronica and other oddness. Someone lazier than I would probably slap a 'Balearic' sticker on it, which is a clumsy if effective way of me showing you just how lazy I am but that shouldn’t dissuade you from checking this out, not least because of some cracking contributions from Kathy Diamond, Jane Weaver and Charlie Sinclair. Cosmic business for the day after and the day after that.
Jay Ka ‘How Do You Stay Young’ Syncrophone
Putting aside the loud, agro and daft first track with its bounding, old school house beat and a frankly silly vocal sample, this EP from Jay Ka is a slick bit of modern house and, being totally fair, the opening cut does raise a smile. Really leaping out are tracks two and three, though - ‘Rain’s sub-aquatic soul samples make for a deep but unpretentious journey while the freaky, bubbling vibe of ‘Rules’ properly oozes character and feeling. Closing track, ‘Wait One’s Turn’ while not dripping in originality, is also a tidy bit of old school deep house.
Very limited stock of the Autumn 2020 issue of Faith is now available for free on the D-Store (excl. P&P), grab a copy while you still can: defected.com/faith-fanzine-autumn-2020