1989's "Do You Know Who You Are" might be one of the best deep Chicago cuts ever recorded, its monstrous kicks, bright wandering synths, and deliciously delayed guitars creating a blueprint for all true deep house to come, from the Burrell brothers to the almighty Kerri Chandler. Pile on synth buzz, near-subsonic bass, and watery harmonies, and there's no denying the piece's greatness, which makes it all the better that Trax and Rush Hour have just re-released Virgo's only eponymous album. Featuring new artwork and tracks remastered for maximum loudness, the release shows that Rush Hour is fast becoming the best archival house label in the world.
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Together, edIT, Boreta, and Ooah have amassed a large number of remixes, singles, and mixtapes, but May 25 will mark the release of Drink the Sea, the debut full-length from LA's veteran blap collective. The Glitch Mob opted to drop the album on its own imprint, Glass Air, and has also given us the premiere of the album's first single, "Drive It Like You Stole It." If this track is anything, it's an anthem. Amidst a trademark head-nodding beat heavy with slap, a number of synths vie for the forefront position—like a team of buglers announcing the coming of the beat scene's heroes—before giving way to an arsenal of heavy percussion and reverberated vocal samples.
A percussive sample loop introduces us to Keepaway and the first song on the band's debut EP, Baby Style. The Brooklyn-based indie trio has penned a sweeping and poignant song with "Yellow Wings"—one that isn't afraid to utilize new technology and sonic approaches in its tried-and-true sound. Reverberated guitar textures meet with snare and tom rolls while the vocals declare, "I think I finally know what I want/I want to be in two places at once." It's a fitting statement for the song's accompanying music video, which features the hilariously low-budget performance of an amateur magician.
Preceding his release with Wolf + Lamb, the forthcoming Chicago EP, London's jozif offered up this unreleased cut of straight tech heat. "Me Loko" has plenty of great things going for it: a hard-hitting dance beat, bouncing reverberated percussion, random brass flourishes, and dollops of rumbling bass spread all throughout the track. It provides an interesting counterpart to the more soulful, antiquated acoustics to be found on jozif's new EP, set for release on April 5.
Deceptikon is a recent transplant to the Bay Area, and he's brought with him a new album, Mythology of the Metropolis, from which "Kinyoubi" is taken. Thick, wet handclaps and deep kicks dominate the track's percussive element, with an interesting move from a more dubstep feel to a slow-motion house beat towards the piece's end. Starry main synths, gut-rumbling bass, and beautifully unintelligible vocals provide the melodic backbone of "Kinyoubi," making for an exciting and versatile slice from this upcoming producer.
To call "Sandstorms," Christian Prommer's cover of the Carl Craig classic, ominous would be an understatement. A droning organ sound is the first and last thing heard in the nine-minute piece, and not once does it let up. Instead, elements are layered atop the pulsing drawl; pattering drums and percussion, subtle yet funky bass riffs, and all sorts of analog weirdness bubble to the surface. It's a little difficult at first to draw a direct line between Craig's original and this reinterpretation, primarily because the new version is made almost completely of live instruments and focuses more on atmosphere than groove, but that's how it fits so well onto the second installment of Prommer's project, a collection of jazz-influenced covers of electronic music icons called Drumlesson Zwei.
If Rob Threezy's membership in the Chicago's Ghetto Division isn't enough proof that his tracks represent the new vanguard of the Chicago sound, then perhaps this astounding remix from Finland's Top Billin' will convince doubters. Given the original's stems, Top Billin' somehow make "The Chase" even more of a Windy City club banger, channeling the monstrous kicks of Cajmere, the sampling style of early Larry Heard projects, and even a bit of Adonis' acid. In no uncertain terms, this is a perfect house track, and one hell of a remix.
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