I looked at the forecast last night and saw nothing but dark clouds and raindrops. Then, much later in the evening, I looked out of the big window in the kitchen to see orange clouds bustling hastily across a sky of burnt sienna. I woke up this morning in Brooklyn with the cold nipping at my toes, and it was in this moment that I realized that the season of warmth has passed, autumn has arrived, which means winter will follow close behind. As the last fleeting days of summer have come and gone, it’s interesting to see how the tone and mood of the music changes like the color of leaves on the trees. Songs that cooled things off when it was hot out still cool things off, but it is dropped below freezing point, if that makes any sense. Here are some deep house picks for the new season.
No Regular Play – Slide Away – Doesn’t Matter EP
I don’t often get to meet many deep house producers or DJ’s in my line of work, so I’m always thrilled whenever I hear new material from my friend Greg and his since-childhood pal Nick, otherwise known as No Regular Play. I think Wolf + Lamb enjoyed a truly break-out year in 2009, and while they haven’t let up at all in 2010, last year may have proven too successful to outdo; but EP’s like NRP’s Doesn’t Matter, Maayan Nidam’s Greatest Tits, and the W+L debut Love Someone make writing the previous statement incredibly difficult. No Regular Play gets at a special deep essence that I think is glossed over elsewhere nearly universally, save for the dark corners inhabited by the likes of DJ Sprinkles, or Moodymann– it’s a place where jazz and soul, hedonism and desire go hand-in-hand.
Nina Kravis – The Loop – Iron & Tears Vol. 1
If you don’t like subtle, looping, repetitive tracks, then you should skip this one (but still check out the release). I came across the somewhat cheeky Berlin-based house/techno label The Gym (a sister-label to Doppelschall Records) by chance last week, and picked up a few tracks off a snapshot compilation of their previous releases. It’s called Iron & Tears, and it features some interestingly quirky beats that communicate reserved, mature style, but more importantly, a certain, very specific mood-statement…it feels almost like this is where Berlin has always been creatively, since 1917.
Greg Parker – Get High (Terry Lee Brown Junior Remix) – Terry’s Cafe 13
Sometimes I feel like dance music still hasn’t evolved past the turn of the century, and in some ways, that not such a bad thing. Okay yes, it does suck that there are so many awful tracks out there, and even the majority of the good ones are disposable– tell me how many tracks from two or three or eight years ago you still listen to the whole way through, unless they’re re-issued and thrown back into the new releases. However, on the bright side, with quick-fix listening pleasures like 99.999% of all dance tracks, the hot ones are enough to dominate your speakers until you find the next dose, and house heads and DJ’s ride this high and beautiful wave of exploration and discovery. It’s even better when you find not just an EP here or there, but a massive compilation, and what Terry Lee Brown Junior did on the Plastic City comp Terry’s Cafe 13 is bring together an eclectic assortment of tracks, mostly from people you’ve never heard of and may never hear again, with something to provide a quick fix of musical bliss to almost everyone on the dancefloor. The newly released Eclosion Remix EP part II is awesome too, check it.
San Soda – Interlude Milieutechnologie 1 – Immers & Daarentegen
I’ve been an admirer of the fledgling Belgian label We Play House since I first heard their MVP San Soda via Freerange Podcast last year. San Soda just recently released comprehensive LP of material called Immers & Daarentegen (can anyone give some insight as to the meaning behind the title? always intrigued…), which along with some of his best deep productions, including new classics like Doorsnee, there are a bunch of these awesome interludes that actually hold their own, drawing on the type of Detroit-grown Dilla-esque tones that I can’t resist. Give this album a listen for synth-drenched classic-sounding house and some chilled, loungey (had to blow the dust off of that word just now before writing it) vibes to compliment.