Release Date: Nov 13, 2012
Record label: !K7
Genre(s): Electronic, House, Club/Dance, Left-Field House, Post-Disco
Like Andrew Butler's Sidetracked mix for the Renaissance label, the Hercules & Love Affair leader's addition to !K7's DJ-Kicks series is a 14-track set that spans a few decades and contains selections from heroes, contemporaries, collaborators, and himself. This one doesn't range quite as far back -- the earliest cuts are from the late '80s, rather than the late '70s and early '80s -- so it's a little more fluid in sound. Victor Simonelli is behind three of the tracks, all of which are highlights: Solution's scuffed, dubby piano-house number "Feels So Right," Cloud Nine's Surface-sampling and therefore relatively atmospheric "Do You Want Me," and the dub mix of Z.
Andy Butler's Hercules and Love Affair project probably needed to throw a good party. Last year's Blue Songs offered streamlined, moody, and frequently muted dance-pop, studiously treading the disco/house tightrope in the service of a higher cause of emotional, songwriterly dance-pop. By contrast, Butler's entry in the DJ-Kicks series pledges itself openly and unabashedly to debauched, dancefloor-centric old house music, in all its sped-up, chunky and percussive glory.
Since first hearing Cajmere’s effervescent “Coffee Pot (It’s Time for the Percolator)” as a musically ignorant nine-year-old, I’ve had a soft spot for all kinds of house music. For listeners like me, the renewed interest in all things house from today’s various indie artists counts as good news, particularly when it pertains to acts who show an affection for crafting authentic throwbacks to the genre’s early days in the Chicago club scene. !K7 Records has taken that retrospective purity to a new level with the latest entry in their famed DJ-Kicks series, mixed by nü-disco revival outfit Hercules and Love Affair in what amounts to a double shot of stripped-down, late-‘80s house worship.
At its worst, Hercules and Love Affair's instalment in the long-running DJ Kicks series is a bit predictable. As expected, Hercules figurehead Andy Butler plumbs the depths of post-disco genres ? house, acid house and boogie, to name several ? and while the mix is peppered with samples from Butler's yoga guru, Parahamansa Yogananda, aiming for a spiritual vibe, this set is really one big party. With a selector as knowledgeable as Butler at the decks, there are more than a few gems meriting rediscovery, like Mankind's "Don't Keep Me Waiting," which rocks an invigorating, early '80s, D-Train, electro-funk groove, and the Skool Flava Dub mix of Klubb Kiddz's "Don't Want To Hurt You," a dope slice of mid-'90s house.
Hercules and Love Affair linchpin Andy Butler’s turn to press tracks for the DJ-Kicks series is a convincing, though arguably predictable, step through the post-disco time tunnel. It’s a solid linking of songs that sound-tracked Butler’s early dance experiences. On top of this a Hercules And Love Affair exclusive is put in the mix, called ‘Release Me.’ Butler is keen to point to the spirituality he found he found in his dance experiences, so he pastes decrees from his yoga guru, Parahamansa Yogananda into the ‘Release Me’ mix.
Sometimes it’s best not to look in the closet. You could waste time feeling around for the light switch, turn it on and swing open the door to reveal the dark cavern of secrets or you could ignore it. Sometimes the easier thing is to jet across the dark floor to where you’re confident the bed is and dive under the sheets. Just ignore the closet.