Saying goodbye to summer with warm-vibed deep, tech and chilled house tracks.
Ten Walls - "Walking With Elephants" - [Big Beat]
Yes, it's that track - the one with the horns that sounds like elephants. Surprisingly, with the chilled house production it doesn't come off as a a novelty track. Old school house (and trip-hop) heads will instantly recognize the chords as they bear a striking resemblance to Massive Attack's "Unfinished Sympathy," which keeps the song squarely in the '90s flashback milieu. The track has been quite big all summer, gaining a lot of buzz and DJ play despite a conflict with respected industry site DJTechTools and original label, Material Music (mentioned here). In the capable hands of major label Big Beat/Atlantic, watch for either a vocal version or a massive advertising sync to come along quite soon.
MDNGHT - "Breeze" - [MUK]
A band that performs house music live, MDNGHT is a breath of fresh air. Their Into the Night EP buzzed big time last year thanks to the title track (which mixes perfectly with Hot Chip's "I Feel Better," as many DJs discovered). The new song feels a lot more pop, yet keeps their retrohouse vibe firmly in place. It is so hooky and slickly-produced that they could be mistaken for a boy band. Expanding the summery vibe, the North2South remix is gaining a lot of DJ love with its classy and retro Nightcrawlers/Stonebridge sound.
The Flexican & Sef - "Mother's Day" - [Because]
Club records are not normally known for extolling the virtues of the feminine form in a respectful way. The Dutch/Mexican duo rework the classic "shake whatcha mama gave ya" idea as heard often in club tracks over a groovy mid-tempo house groove. It's got a fresh vibe yet seems a lot more mellow compared to their previous collaboration "Bros Before Hoes." While on the Flexican tip, check out his Soundcloud for a free download of "Bumaye," the track that inspired Major Lazer's "Watch out For This."
Compact Grey - "S.A.Y." - [Armada Deep]
International super label Armada releases the first track on their new Deep imprint and pick up a track from German producer/Klang Gymnastik label owner Compact Grey. Yes, the track is mellow deep house with a slight tech influence, but the lyrics are so familiar that it might drive you nuts. Rather than an '80s vibe, it has more of a '70s rock vibe - like a modern update of Bad Company's "Feel Like Makin' Love." It took a while, but the lyrics are actually from "Kiss You All Over" by Exile. Not sure what "S.A.Y." stands for but you've got to give the producer credit for taking a classic song and giving it a unique and unexpected feel. For a similar vibe, check out Harold van Lennep's "Liberation."
Watermat - "Bullit" - [Spinnin Deep]
This is that "flute" record you heard all summer. When I first heard about it, I thought it was going to be a much-deserved second life for Sander Van Doorn's brilliant "Koko" from a few years back. Out on Spinnin Deep, the instrumental track is much more subtle, groovy, and yes, deep, than what you usually hear from Spinnin Records. “Bullit” is a chilled progressive track with a poolside lounge vibe. The intro is a bit reminiscent of Giorgio Moroder (maybe “I Feel Love”), but slowed down. The chords trigger an emotional response and takes me back to the classic Dusted (Rollo/Mark Bates) track “Always Remember to Respect and Honor Your Mother.” Then there is the flute which just sounds heavenly, as if it’s leading you on a journey. There aren’t a lot of deeper progressive tracks that cross over to the mainstream, but a vocal version of this could go all the way. The beach-themed fantasy video will keep guys heated up through the winter.