This week’s Heal Yourself And Move—a biweekly column about dance and electronic music, written by Maryland’s finest, Andrew Field Pickering—tackles two new releases by Juju and Jordash and Alexis-Le Tan and Ill Studio, before giving a history lesson in Nu Groove Records' choicest cuts of NY and NJ house. Check the column after the jump.
This week I felt the need to go a little deep into the Nu Groove Records catalog, as I found a copy of one of their sickest records, which I promptly jammed for the entire weekend. But I also wanna showcase some new and upcoming releases, as these are the ones that make the world go ’round:
PART I: NEW GROOVES
Juju & Jordash, "Deep Blue Meanies," from their upcoming s/t LP on Dekmantel
UUUUUUUGGGGGGGGH this track goes so hard. Easily one of my favorite new tracks of the year. I wish I had a copy of the very limited 12" of this, a promo for their upcoming LP, but alas I don't. I play this off a CD, though. Got to! This is simultaneously in debt to classic techno, while giving it some serious forward thought, and a monster of a bassline. J & J have released a few awesome 12s up to this point, and I always get really into their (very eclectic) mixes that pop up online, too. They currently have a radio show at Deep Frequency online radio. The album drops September 21st.
Ill-studio & Alexis Le-Tan Audible Visions: A Spaced Out Musical Ceremony CD
I got this in Germany this summer, and I have been playing it non-stop in my car since I got back. Sick tunes compiled and mixed by Alexis Le-Tan (of Space Oddities compilation fame), all from the fringes of musical history. Every track is a weird hybrid of influences between genres, and the mix itself furthers this hybrid. New beat, new wave, an amazing cover of Laurie Anderson's "Superman" and more. The first song here, "Night Church," by Mark Shreeve, sounds like old NIN + Rhythm Nation + vocoder. YEAH. I played the Shreeve song for Mike from Future Times and he said, "I didn't know Def Leppard had a cut."
PART II: NU GROOVE
The Utopia Project, "File #1"
I picked this up at a thrift store recently. Like a lot of Nu Groove Records I find, I was cautious. Nu Groove was a NYC house label from 1988-1992, and they put out a lot of stuff, especially closer to '92, that I don't really dig. Although they definitely preceded it, the lackluster Nu Groove 12s that I find remind me of what I didn't like about the electronica that I got into in like 8th grade (1997). Too many string freakouts, too many breakbeats, too many diva vocals, too
close to the Hackers soundtrack.
The good shit is crazy, though. Early NU Groove Records are some of the deepest, coolest records. The Utopia Project 12-inch is a project of Rheji Burrell, who had about 30 aliases from the look of things. He was also part of many "groups" he formed with his brother Ronald, who in turn had a rack of solo projects. Dudes were getting it done. According to the credits on the labels, Rheji was: Tech Trax Inc, Utopia Project, Metro, NY House'n Authority, and many more. His cuts are usually my
"File #1" is a workout in what I love most about NY and NJ House: it's bright and shiny, with big chunky drums, and layers of synths for that main melody to sit on. It sounds like a huge melting pot of people flexing and wearing aqua tank tops while
twirling around, all caught on VHS.
NY House'n Authority - "Apt 1A"
What is better than a joint with some sex groans on it? A joint with sex groans, and some serious acid bass. Again Rheji knocks it out of the nasty park. I love the thought of a woman in the studio, going "MMMMMMMMM", then "AH-HUHH", then "OOOOO" into a sampler. All of the NY House'n Authority tracks I've heard are complete sickness. Seek it out!!
33 1/3 Queen - "Searchin'"
This 12-inch was not produced by either of the Burell Brothers, but rather by DJ Darryl "Mandrill" Harris (from The Clubhouse in DC) and "Boys, Inc",
(one or all of the Basement Boys, from Baltimore). According to the discogs entry (and Detective Ari G from Beautiful Swimmers, who figured it out) "The track Searchin' is an adaptation of A Guy Called Gerald's Blow Your House Down, the B side of Voodoo Ray EP released in 1988. The vocals used on Searchin' are originally by Debbie Trusty's song "Searchin' For Some Lovin'" on West End Records. Ari played this cut when we DJed in Berlin this summer, and this woman came up to us screaming about how she used to have a pirate radio station in Ibiza where she would play this song all the time. And then she introduced us to her FATHER, who was like 80, and dancing at the club in a camel-hair jacket, like a beast. Europe.
I love this record most, though, for the un-YouTube-able b-side cut "Disco 4,", in which DJ Mandrill loops up a killer soul breakdown (I don't know which song actually, anybody??) from the Clubhouse days, and lets it ride forever, which is always my vibe.
Metro, "$1.15 Please"
Back to Rheji for this descent into fly deepness. "Sublime" is the word here. Again, I just see beautiful people and tank tops when I close my eyes and crank this. The "aquaworld" of last week's HY&M column again comes to mind, I definitely see waves of influence spreading from tracks like these to NWAQ. I'm really loving the youtube comments for this, especially this one, seemingly from Rheji himself: "Thank you people! I tried to make a beautiful song and I'm glad you got it!"