Dave Aju - X17

  • A spirited and vital electro throwback from a Los Angeles techno lifer.
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  • "X17," the new throwback half-electro, half-freestyle knocker from Los Angeles techno lifer Dave Aju, could be a multi-generational anthem. On face value alone, this is a B-boy jam. It's punchy with 808 thuds, cowbells and that distinctive freestyle swing from the early days of breakdancing and hip-hop. It's the first release on Aju's new label, Elbow Grease, which is named for a term his late father Joe Barrite—a jazz musician who used to run a little speakeasy in Oakland where he brought in West Pharell (pre-Pharaoh) Sanders, Chick Freeman, Joe Henderson and such—used to use a lot. It smacks of family dedication, of carrying on a tradition, in both sound and message. For over 20 years Aju has played all the angles. From opening hip-hop DJ gigs with Band Of Gypsys' "Who Knows" to crafting oddball house hits like "Be Like The Sun" to hooking dance floors with the most bizarre of time signatures and then hitting them with otherworldly brass sounds—he strings together leftfield house, P-funk, breakbeat mayhem and Teutonic techno in a natural, almost anarchist way that feels like a continuation of his dad's ethos. The other versions of "X17" are equally retro, like the "Rhythm Dub"—a beat-centric '80s-style dub workout that reminds us what good sub-bass can do to turn out a dance floor. On "X17 (Viiibe)" we get the same melodies as the lead track but this time they hang in the early morning daylight, something for the party comedown. In all three versions, you can hear a faint voice, maybe a jazz musician, maybe a bandleaders' voice—like his father's—giving directions, as if telling Aju to keep going down his path.
  • Tracklist
      01. X17 (Main Mix) 02. X17 (Rhythm Dub) 03. X17 (Viiibe)