- Whenever a style of house or techno sails back into the limelight, certain older labels or artists seem to smuggle themselves aboard. Here Versatile, a label that's more reliable than essential these days, clings on to the coattails of what people vaguely deem the deep house revival.
It's not intentional, let alone band-wagon jumping. Both Versatile and Lig have been making perfectly satisfactory deep house for years. This time around, that's the problem. While ‘The Track’ is at face-value an anthem, with all the right breakdowns and explosions, it feels a little forced. If melody is the salt then this track is a near inedible bag of chips sticking in your throat. Sure, it's musical as hell to combine so many synths and washes, but over 12 minutes the formula is simple: squeeze every single melody until it is screeching at a very high pitch, then bring the beat back. Oh I remember this, it's called a breakdown! Ask your older brother.
It almost sounds good, doesn't it? Some people are wondering where the breakdowns are in 2008 house music. But when you listen to tracks like this or Sebastian San's ‘Rising Sun’ on Planet E you can't help but feel glad that people aren't so feverishly going for the jugular.
‘Bump Bump’ on the flip is yet another ultra-melodic gobstopper. With a touch of the Freaks or Derrick Carter, it squeaks along pleasantly, but sounds baggy and in need of a good trim. Of course, house and techno need not all be sharp edged clicks and pops, but they do need some rhythm to break things up. Last up is the ‘The Riff Pourpre’, a house track which seems inspired by 80s boogie but sounds like 90s supermarkets. I love D-Train and Daft Punk and I'd watch Ghostbusters if it was on TV (on a Sunday) but I'd be happy if I never heard the trademark flanged keyboard riff used here ever again.
This isn't bad music, there's no ill intent, and both the artist and label have had some great releases in the past. But what's the point of being casually, happily stuck in the past? What is the driving force behind making this record? Perhaps people just need to earn a living.
A The Track
B1 Bump Bump
B2 The Riff Pourpre