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Osunlade Elements Beyond

It's hardly an overstatement to recognize Strictly Rhythm for what it was in the '90s: a juggernaut that comprehensively shaped NYC's house-music sound. Now safely tucked under the wing of U.K. imprint Defected (where several ex-Strictly artists have already migrated), Yoruba Records founder Osunlade's elegant new full-length elevates the recently re-launched Strictly profile once more. Elements delivers a satisfying taste of all things house: from its soaring melodic opener ("A Cloud Mist") to downtempo spoken-word poems ("Cream"), to trance-steeped synths ("139th Street") and stripped-down, old-school dancefloor anthems that ooze classic Strictly style ("Queens Battle"). Elements resonates with something joyous and celebratory, fittingly echoing what SR chief Mark Finkelstein must have felt when he managed to wrestle his original catalog back from ex-partner Warner Music Group after four years in court-you can hear indie labels everywhere giving a collective cheer.

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