Not what you would expect, but better than you can imagine. Breach (aka Ben Westbeech) had one of the biggest records of the summer with “Jack,” a simple yet substantial classic house track with one line of repeated vocal that was accompanied by a viral hairy video. For “We Had It All,” he moves from channeling Larry Heard to evoking classic Rollo. Dig up “Let This Be a Prayer” by Rollo Goes Spiritual with Pauline Taylor for an idea of where this is descended from. How great it is for there to be a return to vocal house with a real song – mournful, yet uplifting – as soulful singer Andreya Triana is serving Sandy B inspired by Moby’s Southern gospel phase. This is classy underground vocal house which is very well-produced and modern-feeling, with classic uplifting vibes for the old school house heads out there. How amazing would it be to be at a festival or in a big room club and the DJ dropped from hard electro or stadium and subtly brought in a quality vocal house record like this?
Image Courtesy of Atlantic.
There has been a noticeable lack of soulful vocals on recent big room/progressive/stadium house tracks. This is why recent releases featuring Max C, Peyton, Janice Robinson, and Frenchie Davis have really stood out due to the powerful and sometimes gospel feel to their vocal performances. Continuing this wonderful trend is “Something About You,” the new single by South American duo HIIO (pronounced H2O- like water) featuring the vocals of Terri B. The uplifting production sounds like Almighty channeling classic Perfecto while attempting a progressive pop track (i.e. stadium house that is commercial but not cheesy). Terri B sounds incredible, possessing a voice that can be both soft, pretty europop and screaming gospel diva. What also stands out is the admirable vocal production, not for changing the sound of her voice, but obviously working with Terri to control the power and use it for emphasis in chorus and not oversing the whole record. For a frame of reference, take a listen to two songs from another “b-girl,” Sandy B, with the classic and pristinely-produced “Make the World Go Round” and the horribly-engineered mess “Everlasting Love” (with Jackie Christie). Listening to those back-to-back illustrate the importance of good vocal production and why “Something About You” will sound just as great on a club floor as it will on the radio or your iPod. DJs who find the original version to be too commercial-sounding should reach for the harder, electro/progressive remixes by DONS and Peter Gelderblom – two solid producers who just don’t seem to get the recognition for the great work they do. Listening to this track makes me want to know more about HIIO and track down their upcoming releases as they drop. After listening, I think you might agree.
Image Courtesy of 4 Kenzo Recordings.