We can certainly resonate with the curators of XLR8R. Their Best of 2018: Tracks featured some of the most endearing releases of this decade. Traumprinz’s DJ Healer robotic Ambient cut ‘Great Escape‘. Leon Vynehall’s experimental downtempo ‘Envelopes (Chapter VI)‘. Hypnotically intricate Sublee’s ‘Irealis‘. The rerelease of So Ingawa’s minimalist ‘Logo Queen‘. All of these tracks carry a common thread of dreamy warmth. One of the highlight tracks on the list which struck a chord above all others was Abacus’ ‘Basic Amounts’. Also known by his real name as Austin Bascom, it’s the DJ and producer’s first release since 2011. As XLR8R says, with the recent years of drought ‘you’d be hard pressed not to think he was retired’. Abacus’ first releases came from Chicago-based labels. Ron Trent and Chez Damier’s Prescription Label and Guidance were the outlets of his earliest releases. The Toronto-native’s discography also bolsters more soulful cuts under his A:xus alias, eventually leading him to start his own Re:Think Recordings. Tracks like 1995’s ‘Decadent Dub‘ on Derrick May’s Fragile showcase his exemplary skill to bring danceability. Released over 20 years later, ‘Basic Amounts’ shows that Bascom’s still got more than enough left in the tank.
Distributed by James Duncan’s (of Metro Area fame) ripping Innermood Label, the track fits right at home. Each of the label’s release so far has carried a semblance of the old-school, with majestic use of soulful samples. Abacus’ cut opens up with with various criss-crossing vocal samples that bring about a solicitous emotion. 5mag describes the track as having ‘full, rich drums filling up the speakers like they’re just poured on in there, an Afro-Latin flavor that serves as the pendulum swing for Abacus’ hypnotic vibes.’ The producer’s Chicago influence shines on a ten note organic bassline that dawdles with nonchalance, sounding like it was played on a Clavinet. Rootstrax ‘Harlequin‘ comes to mind. Horn-like pads that you’d find on a Rick Wade cut bring an uplift. Compressed and abstract, the synths transcend into the metaphysical, expanding the space of the frequencies. Wiggling rigorously like a 303 line, yet bringing a mellow touch of tenderness. The end result is a perspicuous concoction which achieves its aim to bewitch the dancefloor. Continue reading →
Upon first hearing Hans Thalau’s opulent cut ‘Black CC’ we straight up thought it was the Mountain People. Chords that were engineered to a crisp, shouldered a dubbed bass that rose and fell like Mediterranean waves. When looking deeper, we were reminded that it was none other than the head of Thai Communications label himself. The German producer has been under the radar from those in the know, yet his synth-driven deep house cuts class him as one of the best. Released on Shur-I-Kan’s Dark Energy Recordings in 2013, ‘Asdis’ came to our attention after hearing a slew of other tasty Hans Thalau morsels. Brandishing a signature dubby bass, the melody of the synths give the track a frolicsome vibe fitting for a Hed Kandi, Defected In The House compilation or a tINI & the Gang party.
‘Asdis’ breaks this mould through the statement asserted in the title. It is a Nordic name for ‘Divine Being’. Echoed ambient stabs which one may find in an Echochord track makes you feel as though the ear has space around it to move. A chugging bongo is brought down to the ground by the toneless bass that innervates through its inflection. Hans is adept at warping a vocal, and this one seesaws ‘Follow me’ in synergy with the stabs. And why are you following? Because the realm the vocal is inviting you to teleport to is pure. Hans exhibits the finesse of a master keyboard player, each chord progression sounding effortless. The spirit of Kerri Chandler is felt, as the pads sound straight out of his 1990s release ‘Keep Me Inside’. Continue reading →
The System – You’re in My System (Atmospheric Vocal Mix)
The Kerri Chandler, Jerome Sydenham bomb of a track ‘You’re in My System’ made it’s way back into my train of thought during Seth Troxler’s 2018 Timewarp mix. The track is a great mix of NYC house, making one want to get up, get glammed and get out.
There’s not much spacing for mixing from the start of the track – it gets going straight away. The classic deep house synths you can tell were made by Kerri. Perfect for a classy Mayfair cocktail bar. Jerome Sydenham is quality at building a chunky bass line and this one has that classic feeling. Like other old school Deep House tracks it has a dope vocal. The vocalist lets the girl he’s keen know that she’s in his system. You can tell that tracks like Jef K’s remix of The Gathering’s In My system were inspired by this. The New Jack Swing like vibes of the are accentuated the sax’s playing in the back ground.
A musical masterpiece, and certainly one I’d want playing in the background when on a date to help me feel cool calm and collected.