DJ Sprinkles & Hardrock Striker - Skylax House Explosion

  • Two excellent house mixes sourced exclusively from the Skylax Records catalogue.
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  • Skylax Records, the label run by Joseph G Bendavid, AKA Hardrock Striker, has a reputation for house music that often stands up to the classic sounds that inspired it. Its fiercely independent ethos, encapsulated in its slogan "Stay underground, it pays," might not have resulted in piles of cash rolling in, but it has reaped dividends in terms of winning it respect. Few seals of approval carry more credibility in the house underground than that of Terre Thaemlitz, an artist whose convictions around the cultural and commercial appropriation of house music show she prizes integrity in the music she produces and plays. For all the gems brought to light on Skylax House Explosion, a mixed, two-CD label compilation, it's for records like the reissue of Routes Not Roots, an album by Thaemlitz's K-S.H.E alias, that Skylax might be best known. The duo's strongest connection stems from a shared fascination with New York deep house, a heritage referenced in the titles of two EPs, Under The Loft and Under The Garage, both of which were released at the same time as the compilation. The Paradise Garage is invoked from the start of Thaemlitz's mix with An Expresso's "Club Called The Garage." But as the forlorn synths of Jason Grove's "John Blue" encroach, you realise the mood isn't exactly celebratory. The rest of the mix follows in typical DJ Sprinkles fashion. Gil Scott-Heron's voice surfaces on "Everything Must Change," as it did on Sprinkles' 2013 remix of Oh Yoko's "Seashore." What really stamps this as a DJ Sprinkles set, though, is the melancholy and tenderness of moments like Damien Zala's vocal on "Shake Vibration," or the deep-blue synths of Carlos Nilmmns' "Gwen's Song." The mix's atmosphere makes even uptempo moments like Joey Kay's "All Night" feel downbeat and introspective. Where Thaemlitz's mix has a slow-burn feel, Hardrock Striker's crackles with energy. It's also more diverse, and the more enjoyable of the two. Though the tracks are all from this decade, they use tried-and-tested house music tropes. Chunky basslines, saxophones and pianos are all slammed in with an energy that keeps things fresh. It's a masterclass as a classic, no-frills house mix, whose highlights include the spacey synths of Kuba Sojka's "Walk On Moon," Signal ST's springy funk on "Bongo Trax," and "Dreamtime," Bendavid and Peter Black's excellent end-of-night vocal tune. In borrowing so heavily from house music's past, Skylax House Explosion does nothing you haven't heard before, but it's still rare to hear it done this well.
  • Tracklist
      CD1 01. Garage Shelter - Soul 2 Soul (An Outro) 02. An Expresso - Club Called The Garage 03. Jason Grove - John Blue 04. Nick Beringer - Gasp 05. Simoncino - Inga's Creme (Chez Damier Morning After Mix Part One) 06. Soul System AKA Nicholas - Everything Must Change 07. Sameed - Bad You 08. Damien Zala - Shake Vibration 09. F.T.G., Belfie & Alex Tea - Public Enemy 10. Joey Kay - All Night 11. Lady Blacktronika - Right Direction 12. Carlos Nilmmns - Gwen's Song 13. Violence FM & The Underground Soulsavers - Soleil Mauve CD2 01. Lady Blacktronika - Again See Spring 02. Sinan Kaya - Whats's Mine 03. Urban Inc - Beatdown 04. Jason Grove - Streets 05. Love Island - A Feelin' 06. Octo Octa - We Will Be Together Forever 07. Rosenhaft - Voyager 08. Concept e25 - What Did You Say 09. Kuba Sojka - Walk On Moon 10. Groove Riddim feat. Nathaniel X Project - The Difference 11. Niko Marks - Real Funk Don't Die 12. Signal ST - Bongo Trax 13. Mike Sharon - Free Your Mind 14. Garage Shelter - Attempt (Lonely Heart Dub) 15. Peter Black & Hardrock Striker - Dreamtime