- DJ Haus isn't what you'd call an "album artist." That's not a slight against him, but rather a reflection of his career thus far. Since disbanding his Hot City project in 2011, Rupert Cogan has been on a prolific tear of 12-inches, mixtapes and digital one-offs that celebrate a decidedly unsubtle approach to throwback house music. Nothing was ever off the menu. Acid, garage, breaks, ghetto house, rave and every permutation therein could appear on any given release, and Cogan tested the limits of those styles with single after rough-and-ready single. Sure, they weren't all great (some were downright ridiculous), but they'd inject any DJ set with jacking, old-school flair.
With Rinse's release of Burnin' Up, you have to wonder what exactly Cogan's debut full-length is meant to accomplish. It's essentially more of the same from an artist who's released a shitload already, and it certainly doesn't attempt any kind of narrative or cohesive structure. More importantly, these tracks are not among his best. "Higher," one of the bigger tunes here, taps into the kind of pent-up, bottom-heavy garage shuffle that Mosca's "Done Me Wrong" unleashed in 2011, though it lacks the graceful tenacity and slinky movements. Despite some sloppy arranging, "Houz Muzik" delivers feisty, jacking rhythms with its booming percussion and dopey bassline, and "Make Me Feel This" and "Acid Stringz" hold their own as unflashy acid bangers. But there's really no overall highlight—no "Needin' U," "Cold As Ice" or "Trumpet & Badman"—and that makes for a tracklist with far too much filler.
Little of what Burnin' Up does is exciting, but none of it is necessarily bad. As with much of his work, Cogan consistently strikes a solid middle ground between guilty pleasure, cheeky nostalgia and bonafide killer. A sinewy drum track like "Eez Werkin'" has the good sense to throw a few rave stabs into the mix, and while "No More Loving" and "In My Mind" stick to the house rulebook, they do so with enough energy to be convincing. Cogan deserves credit for the mileage he's able to get out of classic dance music, even if he can't turn it all into a strong album.
01. Won’t Let U Get Away
03. Burnin' Up
05. Eez Werkin'
06. Houz Muzik feat. Chambray
07. No More Loving
08. In My Mind
09. Make Me Feel This Way
10. Keep Me Coming feat. Innershades
11. Acid Stringz