- Is there a New York house sound? Most likely, you'd have to say no. In a typically Big Apple way, the house scene in this city seems to have so many diverse variations crammed into a comparatively small geographic region, you'd have a hell of time lumping them all together. These days you've got, just name a few, your sensual yet playful deep house over at Wolf and Lamb, your more athletic old-schoolisms of Jus-Ed and crew, and then you've got the rawer, dirtier take on the early house aesthetic pushed by House of House, Rub-N-Tug and labels like Wurst and Chinatown.
That latter vision of the genre is a style that has also worked for Marcos Cabral and Jacques Renault, AKA Runaway—specifically on last year's breakout "Brooklyn Club Jam," where they went about as deep as you can go without drowning, letting a tribal tom riff build up a massive amount of pressure before a huge dubbed-out piano riff swooped in for cathartic release. It was a prescient move considering how much piano house has been making the rounds as of late.
After a number of subsequent releases for labels like I'm a Cliche, Runaway return for another stripped-down blood-pumper for their debut on Mule Musiq. Like its closest predecessor, "Caprice Drive" shows off a knack for the pressure-cooker groove, winding a rugged, relentless rhythm until it's almost dizzyingly tight. Around the four minute mark there's a great example of layered drums in which a second track appears out of nowhere—the kind of clever gotcha moment that works best on a well-designed speaker system.
The title's fitting enough: "Caprice Drive" could be an ode to a ride in that big-boned American auto that often functioned as a police squad car in its day, as its layers of slowly mutating synths and filtered samples do sound rather like police sirens howling through traffic and then receding into the distance. It's the sort of tune you figure just had to have been made by hardworking DJs like Cabral and Renault, as its infectious dynamics seem tailored to a dancer's physiology.
Over on the B-side, the slow-mo easy-going boogie of "Dirty Cake" is either based around a Levan-era disco tune, or its two-chord vamp with plucked bass and chicken scratch guitar is simply meant to drive trainspotters nuts playing name-that-sample. With a great retro-analog snare and laid-back swivel, it's a kissing cousin to Paradise Garage classics like "Heartbeat." Whatever it is, this main groove holds things down for what's ultimately less of a track than a mini-mix, redolent with plenty of mixer/FX trickery and some solo noodling that gets caught in some infinite cosmic reverb and is never heard from again. Perfect b-side stuff: stretch out and do your thing.
A Caprice Drive
B Dirty Cake