Review: Steve Poindexter – Street Fighter EP (LA Club Resource)

Delroy Edward’s LA Club Resources label has been one of house and techno’s most interesting musical projects since its inception in 2013. Although a substantial amount of the releases so far have leaned towards the rougher, noisier end of the spectrum, the rest of it has been pretty defined by the sort of raw, jacking house music that seems to have become a bit of an endangered species elsewhere.

The ‘Street Fighter EP’ falls entirely in that second collection, and is a continuation of Edwards’ desire to put out unreleased music by some of the people who have obviously been an influence on his own raucous and Ghetto-y style. Last year we had two records by acid house master Gene Hunt, both of which were the sort of proper banging house that scares the derp fans silly, and now it’s the turn of Steve Poindexter, another Chicago master and a man who has been responsible for more than a few moments of honest-to-God classic house in his time.

As with the Hunt releases, these new Poindexter tunes are actually picks of mid 90s material from his own archives. There is a cynical line of thought that suggests that if they had been good enough in the first place, we would have had them released many years ago. In the case of some of these archive jobs this is probably a handy thing to bear in mind. The difference here though, as with the Gene Hunt stuff, is that ‘Street Fighter’ sounds nothing like a bunch of old and forgotten tunes that couldn’t pass muster the first time around. If anything, considering the era of increasingly mannered and ever-so-very boring underground house we seem to be going through, they feel like a much needed intervention, and an injection of the rawest funk into a scene that seems more and more devoid of it.

let’s get this out of the way first. It might be music from Poindexter’s glory days, but there isn’t anything here quite as deadly as tunes like Work That Motherfucker or Computer Madness, but what there is still heavy-set with his trade mark bite and twist. The four of them are definitely cut from the same Poindexter cloth: Rough hewn bangers riding claustrophobic grooves and cut up with percussion that sounds as if it has been made from broken bits of scissors. The best of it is each of them still burn with a vitality that belittles their age.

In fact, you could drop Street Fighter, the opener, into any modern-day set and it would do some real damage with the sloppy, rising and falling riff that runs it’s length. It’s a lively banger; stripped down to a lithe bareness, it’s a testimony to what house music can do when you get rid of all the fat, reduce it down to a few functional parts and build it back up with grooves instead of empty sounds. Cats is a similar creature. Stark and bruising, it’s essentially nothing but an electrifying machine jam that gets right up in your face. It’s music to sweat too.

Sadaam’s Bush and Blazing Saddles stick to the formula but add in riffs full of squashed, warped melody and subtly acidic textures. In Sadaam’s Bush’s case it gives it a playful tone and exchanges the strident urgency for something more whimsical and chilled. Blazing Saddles, actually a collaboration between Poindexter, Johnny Key and Trackmaster Scott, is probably the highlight of the record. Loose, jacking and so very, deeply, stupidly funky, it’s the perfect late night warehouse corker. All it needs are a few strobes and it’ll be right at home. This is house music, the real thing; raw underground jams that are hard-wired to move the feet and the heart. It’s funny that a quartet of twenty year old jams is exactly what we all need, right now.