Review: Delroy Edwards – Can U Get With (Gene’s Liquor)

Given that Edwards’ other label project, LA Club Resource, seems intent on heading on towards ever more noisy and experimental pastures it’s interesting, welcome and possibly a little bit defiant that Gene’s Liquor has already asserted itself as the home of some proper house music. The label’s first release by Laurent was a great blast of three filthy, deconstructed disco shufflers that seemed to have little more in their head than a desire to turn up and make you dance your sweaty little socks off. If you haven’t tracked it down yet do yourself a favour and go hunting. It was one of those little unheralded gems that gets thrown your way nowhere near often enough.

Edwards’ own release on the new label, ‘Can U Get With’, comes from a similar direction as Laurent, and is being mentioned elsewhere as a return to the sort of material he first made his name with on Long Island Electrical Systems – the outfit he is probably inexorably linked with now. But while it’s true that the music here is a definite departure from some of the increasingly harsh sounds he’s been responsible for over the last year or so (The DJ Punisher record comes to mind), I’m not sure it is really, stylistically, that much closer to his trio of releases on L.I.E.S. If anything it reveals yet another facet to the young producer that has been hinted at several times but never really given too much time in the spot light.

Where the record immediately departs from previous is the gloriously old school mood. Even though Edward’s is well-known for his love of various older genres, He’s never come quite as close to realising a sound which recreates that heady mix of house, hip hop and garage that came to define certain strands of dance music way back when. Can U Get With, with its loose-footed groove, its chipmunk vocals and its perfectly weighted samples sounds as if it has been picked out of an early nineties mix by one of those long forgotten DJs who namelessly went about creating modern house.

It’s a trick repeated on Always (edit) which is a huge stomping monster of true-school, early Trax fun that is infested by the ghosts of Marshal Jefferson and Frankie Knuckles. There are no nods to acid or ghetto here: the titanic piano riff and the vocals making it very clear what way it’s going. It’s borderline cheesy, pulled off with panache, and is – in its own way – just as surprising a turn from Edward’s as anything on his recent Death Of Rave release.

The final untitled track with its souped up, strangely poppy bass, jazzy noodling and scything percussion is perhaps a less obvious pleaser but has the feel of music shaped by a producer cutting loose and creating for the fun of it.

There is nothing groundbreaking or experimental here, not much likely to appeal to anyone who came into it on the back of the sonic hammering of some of the newer stuff, but it is probably a stronger release for all that, and one that is simply designed to get the smiles flowing along with the feet. Great big smiles. Pure party music in time for the season.

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