This is an overview of the music that the 909 crew are feeling this month. Not focused on new releases, it serves as an insight to our musical journeys and the discoveries we make on the way.
Nush – U Girls (Shake It Club Mix)
This isn’t particularly new, and it isn’t particularly revolutionary, but man has this song made an impression on me this month.
The most interesting way to describe how I feel about this is… it so easily could’ve been awful. I listen to the eight bar melody and actually think of people like MK, all the way through from his alright 90s stuff to his remix of Look Right Through, which was the point where house commercialisation reached its peak in my opinion.
Is this therefore an example of the sound that was bastardised into this mutated ‘deep house’ Ocean Beach 2013 vibes? I think yes.
If you break it down even further you find more and more influences for other songs. Aside from the clear MK inspiration, the beat and snares are almost a carbon copy of Mood ii Swing’s All Night Long – although it should be the other way round given this came out in 1994 and All Night Long was ’96. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the more you listen to this the more it feels like a total embodiment of 90’s house.
This feels like a guaranteed party starter. The vocal might actually be a bit un-PC these days but it’s effective. The melody is bouncy and catchy. The structure accessible for DJs and dancers to get on board with. It does everything well and it should be seen as a great song, even if it does remind you of Look Right Through…
Uninamise – Case Of Flex
This is pretty different from anything I’d usually listen to, and I’m not sure if I’d ever actually play it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy it.
It feels like a weird mix between trap and dancehall, with a little sprinkle of R&B. There’s probably a single definition of this genre, but I’m not equipped with the relevant knowledge to categorise it, so it’s better for me to stop running my mouth about it.
It’s theatrical at times, bombastic at others and with a killer vocal throughout. The energy is bursting at the seams, which usually can be a bit intense, but given this is a sweet little 3 minute package it works well. I feel like you would need to bring it in after some understated minimal stuff so it’s not too overwhelming, but it’s definitely a curveball that would be appreciated if played right.
This is not something I shouldn’t like on paper, and it feels iconoclastic to patient, measured dance music. But I guess that ain’t such a bad thing after all.
MoMa Ready – House All Along
I’ve been really into MoMa Ready for a while, but primarily without realising it. Essentially, I didn’t know that AceMoMa was actually a collective instead of one person. I’ve listened to their Lot Radio mixes, I’ve heard my friends wax lyrical about how banging their set was about ://aboutblank. But the moment I start going through this guy MoMa Ready’s Bandcamp, I thought it was a bit weird that he had such a similar name. They even have the same MoMa bit… Safe to say it wasn’t my proudest (Ace)MoMent when someone had to explain that one to me.
Pointless anecdote aside, Body 21 was the Bandcamp release I was trawling through when I went through this period of enlightenment. The first thing that strikes you is the sheer versatility of the music in this compilation. It’s a 21 song compilation (after the previous paragraph you can understand why I need to state this…) and within that you’ve got super cool New York deep house, sexy ghettotech anthems, downtempo breaky bits, glitchy garage offcuts and skittish jungle rollers… and that’s just the first seven songs!
Although I don’t want to use the word persevered, as that insinuates some form of unenjoyment, I think credit is due to the fact I listened to all 21 songs before finding my favourite song, which happened to be the final song on the compilation. I think part of it was down to the fact it felt so celebratory after a few songs that were a bit low-key, which suggested that the flow of the compilation was set in a way that would position this song on a pedestal. But after a few days and listening to it as an individual song, the same components stand out for me.
The way I feel it, it feels like a beautiful harmony between Detroit and New York house. It has the spaciness of the Detroit synths, nestling in the sweet spot somewhere between Theo Parrish and Luke Hess. But then it has that warmth that reminds me of the most intimate Kerri Chandler cuts, and this is where the optimism and elation comes from in the song. To be mentioned in the same breath of these house titans is an achievement in itself, and this feels like a house song that deserves to be in that pantheon of goodness.
I say goodness, because greatness is something that needs to be earned and cannot be achieved by one or even a few good songs. But with the sheer versatility and work rate that is clearly demonstrated by this release, and the evident talent and quality that complements this attitude, there’s no reason why MoMa Ready could not achieve that one day.
New Members – Rising Aura
International Women’s Day took place last month, and this brilliant compilation was one of several that was released on the day to commemorate this important landmark. I’m unashamedly on the Radiant Love hype train, but even then I still thought that this was the standout release on the day.
It took me longer to actually pick the song I would choose as one of my tracks of the month from that compilation than it did to write this segment. It could’ve quite easily been the tracks from Maara, Roza & D Tiff, Sansibar, or Bliss Inc. but this edged it for me, mainly because it felt like the song I would be most likely to play out.
Like most Radiant Love tunes, this is all about the bassline. It feels like a trademark by now, but it has that tech-house urgency and aggressive grit that gives it that quintessential Radiant Love sound. It’s a four-bar bassline that is punchy and rolling, but you wouldn’t quite say it’s groovy, which is why it’s a bit more tech than it is house. The atmospherics are nice and classy but ultimately they’re there to complement the track, rather than define it.
This is top drawer club fodder, and songs like this exacerbate the hopeless void that fills us all as we realise that songs like these are made for dancefloors that can’t be filled for a while yet…
Anunaku – Spirale
This should really come with a Disclaimer: No tribal drums. It’s one of the worst kept secrets in music that Anunaku loves a bongo, and although it’s unfair to typecast someone after a couple of releases, there was definitely a suspicion that Anunaku could end up being solely known for tribally influenced dance music. This was accentuated further by the fact his other alias TVSI didn’t really feel like much of an alias because he also clearly bloody loved a bongo.
It’s therefore really pleasing to say that this song sounds absolutely NOTHING like an Anunaku track, and there’s not a bongo in sight. If you put a blindfold on me and asked me who this was by, I’d probably go with someone like Donato Dozzy as it’s eerily similar to Parola. Both have spoken word samples by Italian women, and the looping of both is designed to make it as trippy as possible. But where Parola is dark and menacing, this feels tender and elating.
The added sample of the singing adds a choral element into the song which I think is pretty original, and if you listen to the song there aren’t really any soaring synths or anachronistic breakdowns for the most part. It’s pretty minimal and restrained throughout, letting the looping and angelic choral singing do most of the work.
At just over the halfway mark the synths do pick up and the direction of travel definitely becomes more euphoric. A 32 bar interlude is expertly timed, and the crescendo of the vocals and synths marrying together in an explosion of buoyant emotion does feel really satisfying. But still it feels not too hyperbolic. It feels mature, measured, and the result? Masterful.
It’s really something when an artist is capable of producing something that is a million miles away from their previous release. When I pressed play on this, if you’d told me that I was going to get an Italian choral singer instead of the bongo I would’ve laughed in your face. Well who’s got egg on their face now?