One complaint often leveled at electronic music is that it is so perfect and precise. The beats are measured, something happens every four measures, and everything is perfectly synched. Embracing the style of Le Youth, sampling and distorting an old vocal sample until it is unrecognizable, “Come to See Me,” the recent release from Block & Crown vs Troj throws a bit of a curveball. The tech-house/future-house/nu-house (insert current de rigeur subgenre) track reworks the vocals of Brandy’s “What About Us” to sound masculine. If that isn’t disorienting enough, the vocal placement is off, seemingly on purpose, to throw you off the game. If you try to sing along, you can’t. This isn’t the haphazard sloppiness of an amateur producer, but an enticing, almost stimulatingly dysfunctional method of disorienting the listener. Just when you think you’ve got the groove, it throws you off. A parallel would be the high fashion models who become successful due to a flaw which makes them special. In a world of precision EDM, an off the cuff track like “Come to See Me” really stands out and makes a statement.
The ’90s are back, and as the wave of stadium house begins to recede you can look for underground house to make its way to the forefront. We’ve covered the Canadian duo Prince Club, and it seems like Disclosure is getting more buzz than anyone else at the moment, except of course for Duke Dumont. “Need U (100%)” bubbled up from the underground garage clubs in the UK to become a number one pop hit. Listening to the song, it’s easy to see why. The classic house vibe feels like something King Street or Nervous would have released in the ’90s. Add in the the soulful diva vocals by A*M*E (already buzzing from being nominated in the Sound of 2013 poll) and you’ve got a song that is a fresh take on underground house. It’s also a nice change to dance to a sexy house jam at 122 BPM as opposed to jumping up and down all night to electro tracks clocking in at over 130. For those DJs who do require a more uptempo mix, Danny Howard pumps up the energy, adding some electro but keeping the soul of the original in place. Speaking of Disclosure, they recently covered “Need U 100%” with a male vocalist and a more classic MURK-ish kind of vibe. Premiered on Sara Cox’s BBC Radio show, the Disclosure version is giving a second life in the UK to the track amongst the underground hipsters. Maybe it’s time for Disclosure, Duke Dumont, and A*M*E to go into the studio together and see what kind of magic they could create.
The superstar DJs of today owe a lot of credit to Todd Terry, or Todd the God as he was affectionately nicknamed. Back in the day, he was criticized when he DJed and played a lot of his own productions. Can you even think of a superstar DJ today who doesn’t do his own production? Reenergized and embracing his heartfelt house grooves, Todd Terry is back to creating music for dancefloors embracing a multitude of genres – samba, hip-hop, and even electro with original productions and great collaborations. I must say it was a true honor to speak with one of the true legends of house music.
DJ Ron Slomowicz: How was the OWAP (Original Warehouse Acid Party) event at Amsterdam Dance Event? Todd Terry: It was great, gritty and dirty and exactly what I was looking for when I do OWAP. They just know how to fuse it together and make it real house and real funky.