jeudi 24 janvier 2008

Nu Groove classics, part 2

So now that we're all convinced of the Burrell's genius, let's see who else did classic material on Nu Groove. First of all I'm not very into the more techno/darkside sound that was released on the label. I find it pretty corny and stupidly machofuturist, but then this post-Energy Flash sound, which perpetuated well into the 90s, especially in Europe, has many supporters so I'm certainly not gonna start a dispute about it. But the crazy thing is how the guys who can be considered as some of the originators of this fast and "dark" stuff also did some much slower, housier and weirder tracks.

Code 6 – Off the Hilltop

Connoisseurs will identify the Section 25 (a Manchester post-punk band reference, for you rock virgins) reference and sample. Code 6 is Joey Beltram, more or less on a minimalist tip. That's really what you can call call a disturbed track, even if the drum programming's pretty standard Todd Terry-esque early house. The rest, structure and sounds, is fully efficient and meaningful when heard drugged up or just naturally fucked up, a state I tend to be familiar with. A brilliantly sparse, almost unfinished-sounding track with a twisted atmosphere. Great work from Joey.

Major Problems – Overdose - The Final Trip
Major Problems – Arson - 4 Count Version

Major Problems are Lenny Dee and Ralphie Dee before they became hardcore techno gods. The first track here wasn't (and wouldn't be) the first one to rip Adonis' No Way Back's bassline, but I think it's done in a very fine way on this. There's a little vicious drum sound that feels like the tension is suddenly deflated. I also like the way they twist the bass, or how they integrate the breakbeats. It's overall a very powerful and, erm, fat piece of dance music. The second tune is much more frightening, certainly because it was done by even more drugged up, darkened minds. But the bass and the beat sometimes sound deep and kind of warm, so the whole tune conjures someone shifting from a really fucked up psychic state to a more serene plateau, back and forth. Very intriguing stuff indeed. I actually didn't made up this toxic metaphor on my own, since Major Problems had tracks called "Flashback", "Overdose", "Paranoia" and "The Rush". So I guess there's a kind of subtle drug innuendo here.

Massive Sounds – The Future

Not much to say about this early deep house classic : immersive, melancholic and rich with serene despair. Massive Sounds is Bobby Konders. Funny how this kind of music can almost sound like proto-jazzy lounge, yet not at all at the same time. It's the whole point of this ode to ennui (curiously – or aptly? – named "The Future") : making aural wallpaper sound passively poignant and hypnotic. Available on Gigolo's wonderful Lost Era compilation. Classic classic classic.

Basil Hardhaus – Make Me Dance (Vocal)

This Basil guy used to be quite a versatile, unpredictable producer, able to make deep jazz-tinged spiritual house tracks, instrumental lo-fi slow jams (the hilarious "The Smooth Track"), eerie synth experiments or straight horn-driven house as well as cheery, exuberant, almost campy garage, such as this tune called Make Me Dance, embellished with a sample from this pinnacle of euphoria that is Funkin for Jamaica by Tom Browne. The track sounds a bit awkward and dysfunctional to my ears and the male and female vocals definitely don't get well tight together, but this touch of amateurism and looseness are obviously essential to the track's charm.

Open House – Keep With the Pace (Club Mix)

Open House seems to be John Beltran (who would later enjoy a nice career in IDM/Detroit soft techno) and engineer Mark Wilson. Most of their stuff was very good but extremely Detroit-oriented (warm geometric basslines, hyperactive percussion, synth washes) but this particular track has a more New York-ish feel. This slap synthbass is something pretty unique in house music. And there's a bunch of other MIDI (I think) sounds that might have been cool at the time but now just seem clumsy and generic. The whole stuff put together works very well though : it's sort of blendd a cosy and contemporary loungey atmosphere with more spontaneous and dynamic elements. This is surely not a huge dancefloor smash, but it might well be a "walking down slightly busy streets in the morning with a Walkman/iPod" classic instead.

8 commentaires:

operator a dit…

Ca y est, le style.

Debector a dit…

back to the old skool house, merci pour cette selection, du très lourd !!

Anonyme a dit…

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use a different system - that download system does not work for us here ...

Anonyme a dit…

Beyond frustrating - cannot download ANYTHING from your site

Please consider using RAPIDSHARE
also please consider posting the WHOLE EP ...
These things are magic ...

EtienneMenu a dit…

tick the track on the NeufGiga page then click on "rapatrier", it should work.

oh and sorry but i generally don't want to post whole EPs.

Anonyme a dit…

That Code 6 track is a such a ripoff of Todd Terry's (Hardhouse guise) "The Bass Girl". Joey, Frankie and those guys did it quite a bit. They would rehash more original ideas by others.

mark a dit…

Sorry but your wrong about the Open House Featuring Pace. John Beltran was playing music with a toy keyboard when i met him at the gym in Lansing, Michigan. John was influnced by our sound and i desided to put him on record Years after the open House releases. He was one of my project artist.

Thank You
Mark Wilson

EtienneMenu a dit…

Hi Mark, and sorry for the slow answer but i got very sick around late may. I've currently OK and recovering. Anyway, I don't know how I got wrong about who was or were Open House, and I'm very sorry about that. John Beltran is so frequently mentioned in the Open House credits that things might have got a little confused in my mind... Not forgetting the similarity of his later sound with yours! I'm gonna edit my post right now. Once again : I'm very sorry,and thanks for this insider information!