Reviews: Adesse Versions – That’s What Friends Are For (Numbers); DABJ Allstars Volume 2 (Dixon Avenue Basement Jams)

Adesse Versions – That’s What Friends Are For (Numbers)

I almost let Adesse Versions go right by me, which is strange because I’ve bought pretty much all the records. I think perhaps I had the music of Kevin Gorman pegged wrongly, holding out on it because it felt a little too slick and big club ready to really work on me; solid house music with the edge, the threat, softened up. When I listen back, though, the truth is a long way from there and I think it’s more likely it’s taken my ears awhile to tune themselves to Adesse Version’s mix of subtle electronics, slender acid spirit, and a million other tiny little influences that have made their mark in the music.

Beyond that, Gorman is one of the few producers kicking out vocal tunes which refuse to fall towards either kitchnes or cold experimentalism. Why I din’t work that one out sooner is a mystery, because Pressure, way back on the first record, was one of the real vocal killers of recent years, and one that thrilled and haunted you in equal measures. Last year’s Pride cemented this rare gift, it’s strutting heat almost surpassing Pressure’s subtler seduction.

Adesse Version’s third release for Numbers lands with That’s What Friends Are For leading the way. The tune strips everything down to a booming deepness, lacerated by a slo-mo acid growl and wickedly twisted story telling, and filling in the gaps with some of Green Velvet’s malicious energy. And while it’s in a different realm from Pressure and Pride’s anthemic glimmer, it tugs at the feet with just as much glee. In the Sticks brings things back to ground with a long unwind of colour and frequency on the back of a slowly building groove that’s just about as deadly as That’s What Friends… Prowling madness.

DABJ Allstars Volume 2 (Dixon Avenue Basement Jams)

Volume 1 of the DABJ Allstars, released way back in 2013, introduced us to TX Connect and CT Tracks, and was the strongest reflexion yet of how exciting the label was beginning to look. Fast forward three years and volume two arrives after an impressive start to 2016. The new addition ties label regular Denis Sulta in with newcomer Fear-E- and sees CT Trax return for their first outing since volume 1.

Just like the first one, DABJ Allstars Vol 2 is just about as strong a snapshot of modern undeground house as you can get. Sulta kicks us off with a blast of cut-upped jacking mayhem, simultaneously mainlining messy Dance Mania ghetto, sharpened rave stabs and day-glo happy house vibes. CT Trax makes you wonder why their hasn’t been more, especially after Redline on the first record was such a beauty. Here they deliver a pair of killers. Toxic starts with some tight, wondering acid that mixes an old school sound with a new school brashness . Walk For Me is potent blast of gnarly, stalking fury that twists in an early nineties feel to the bedlam, and draws on a similar well of acid techno as some of the early Plus 8 stuff.

Although many will come for the Sulta track, it’s the newcomer who really makes you sit up and take notice. Fear-E- brings a monster in Candi’s Quatra. It’s a proper head turner, and one that never quite stays where you think it is. Pushing from a strobing slice of garagey jack towards some deliciously off-tangent cosmic sense-scrambling, it nicely captures a sense of stomping, late night abandon tightened up with dense atmosphere. While the last Casio Royale record remains the highpoint in a ridiculously good year for DABJ so far, this more than holds its own. Dirty, seedy and jacking from one of the few remaining bastions of true underground house.

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