- Good label bosses latch onto trends, but great label bosses create them. A lot of imprints these days are trying to stoke the fires of minimal bathroom techno as the next big thing but… is deep house becoming trendy? This year we're witnessing a lot of soul and energy on CD (Heidi's 'Monza' comp), on the dancefloor (at the T-Bar on Sundays) and in playlists (Rob Mello's RA podcast). Add to that Jay Haze's aptly named 'Soul in a Bottle' as well as the corporate growth of Ame's Innervisions label, and 2006 is becoming the year deep house looked forward.
But with this release Steve Bug pulls the opposite trick: looking back over his shoulder. Always on the cusp of the deep stuff and techno in his live sets, here Bug dusts off DNH label boss Nick Holder's 1994 track 'Erotic Illusions' to re-release it on Poker Flat, this time enlisting studio knob nerd Martin Landsky and his editing equipment. It's a curious picnic of old and new arrangements and synth patterns, with killer vocals from Gentle Aura.
Holder's original works in a naughty vocal that sounds a little like Paris Hilton age 6. The groove is deep and quick, the shakers simple, sure-footed and sexy. Classic production from Holder here, fusing genre-bending samples, underground layers of beats and warm basslines. This track might not scream to the young guns of today moshing around with M_nus hair cuts and Crosstown Rebels T-shirts, but it has a longevity which is hard to arrive at.
The original is complimented by two Bug and Landsky edits: On the A-side the pair stoke the fire of the vocals and beats into something twisted of their own: Aztec-click soul, anyone? The female vocal chants 'Feel the rhythm' and, well, yes I do - if she looks as nice as she sounds over these beats, me and probably Mr. C (and Mrs. C too) will be feeling more than just the rhythm. At around four minutes, the crazed, cosmic samples build, re-build, bounce and shine, and the track becomes something heads who dig deeper 4/4 house grooves will surely bounce to. Play this loud and watch the girls with dreads bump and the Gucci girls grind!
The second Bug and Batman Landsky edit is built around claps, a sports-car rolling bassline, and an awkward 'ooooghhh' sample: it's spooky, scared and sharp. The vocals are pushed later into the scene, letting the instruments work the crowd - good programming, but edit one wins this battle in downtown Got-them city.
So a winner then. But is deep house back? For me personally, techno DJs making space for artists like Ron Trent, Atjazz and Larry Heard really enriches the musical direction. This mix, edit, cut and curve of old and new shows a keen eye for detail (Bug), integrated production (Holder) and a concise studio geometry (Landsky). Music is looking to the future right now, but if you've got your heart firmly rooted in the past, the present is a promised land with fruits of labour aplenty.