Release Date: Sep 18, 2015
Record label: Smalltown Supersound
Three years after London-based DJ/producer duo Idjut Boys released Cellar Door, their proper debut full-length on Oslo's Smalltown Supersound label, they return with Versions, an album reworking material from throughout their career, but primarily centered around Cellar Door. That album generally consisted of chilled-out Balearic disco, utilizing smooth electric and acoustic guitars, pianos, bongos, and rubbery basslines. Versions emphasizes the dub elements present in the duo's sound, covering everything in thick, hallucinatory echo and stretching out the length of many of the songs.
Each generation comes upon Jamaican dub and its stoned spacetime elasticity in their own way. Twenty-first century dubstep fans might have traced that wobble back to the likes of Jah Shaka’s soundsystem while alternative rock fans in the '90s learned about such music thanks to the likes of Tortoise and the Lee "Scratch" Perry cover of Grand Royal. But dance music fans were well aware of the mind-altering properties of dub since the days of disco.
The adage about form being temporary and class being permanent perfectly describes the Idjut Boys. For over two decades, London disco duo Conrad McDonnell and Dan Tyler have kicked against the ersatz club trends and quick-buck houseonomics that have dominated dance music.Like mentor and early inspiration, DJ Harvey, they've done it via gorgeously winding grooves and glittering, Balearic-tinged disco. Now on Norwegian disco label Smalltown Supersound, 'Versions' sees the Idjuts bring new life to a collection of sprawling, dubby disco from the vaults; the reverb, gossamer-light acoustic guitars and feathery instrumentation on 'Another Bird' and 'Going Down' are aural sunshine, gently kissing your bare skin.
It's rarely mentioned these days, but the nu-house scene that flourished in Britain around the turn of the century was a pivotal juncture in UK club culture. Loosely based on the Nuphonic label (hence the name), nu-house awakened a significant minority of clubbers to the idea that house could be raw, sprawling, psychedelic music. Followers of DJ Harvey, Idjut Boys were key architects of the nu-house sound, even as they sought to distance themselves from the term.In their warmth, density and extended length, Conrad McDonnell and Dan Tyler's tracks harkened back to the classic disco of Paradise Garage, but also sought inspiration in dub reggae, early Chicago house and the '70s African funk of Fela Kuti.