Various - Secret Weapons EP (Part One)

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  • To mark their tenth Innervisions release, head honchos Âme and Dixon have chosen to license and release four fave tracks that they have currently been enjoying playing out. Apparently these “secret weapons” are hidden gems that always garner a positive response on the dancefloor. What’s great about an Âme DJ set is that they know their musical history and they like to vary it up, sprinkling minimal, dubby tribal rhythms and tunnel vision-inducers between their signature epic trance-like anthems. The underlying ingredient though is always in their roots in house music. It is fitting then that ‘Ghetto’ by Kingpin Cartel is an homage to old school Detroit house with a fair quotient of disco funk thrown in for good measure (listen to the snappy bass riff.) Unfortunately, the synth lines stray too far into the realm of cheesiness and I found myself imagining this to be the type of tune played at the next Defected In the House party (this isn’t a good thing). ‘Aji’ by Zagora is a brother from a different mother. It is a warm tribal/afro house affair, complete with congos and some haunting dubby female chants. Very hypnotic and perfect for a sunny Sunday afternoon, spliff in hand. The standout track, and reason alone to buy this record, is ‘Warm’ by Mark August. After hearing this then unidentified song on an Âme live set I recently downloaded, I spent countless hours on the Internet searching for track IDs and listening to audio clips at online records stores, such was my determination to find out what it was. A playful deep house/minimal techno number, ‘Warm’ slowly and methodically builds without respite, chiming in with a mischievous peak-a-boo melody every eight bars. It never climaxes but instead subtly and effectively ups the ante throughout, ideal for when the DJ wants to switch gears from mellow to peak time. Finally, ‘ESL’ by Fish Go Deep does exactly that, taking us to the very depths of deeeep house. Ultimately though, the bottom of the ocean is probably more interesting than this track. It might be pleasant enough but it is never really going to pack out the dancefloor. Just when it appears to be building towards a crescendo, it comes back up for air and deflates like a puffer fish who’s realized that the danger has passed. Perhaps more suitable as background music in a cocktail bar. Even though ‘ESL’ and ‘Ghetto’ are decidedly average, ‘Warm’ is worth the price of admission alone, and you get ‘Aji’ as an extra bonus.
  • Tracklist
      A1 Kingpin Cartel - Ghetto A2 Aji - Zagora (The Tifawt Dance) B1 Mark August - Warm B2 Fish Go Deep - ESL