Maintaining the focus firmly on the underground and keeping that no-frills party vibe running throughout their output, Music Is Love keep things flowing at a steady pace with their 12th release. Dedicated to continually curating original ideas, the premise behind MIL012 is all about the label paying homage to their most prominent musical influences. Leading the way behind the new concept entitled Tribute, head-honcho Oli Furness teams up with one of his favourite producers – Chicago house legend Paul Johnson – for a four track EP, with two tracks from either producer intended to highlight the impact of Johnson’s impact and influence as an artist.
Paul Johnson has been a staple of house music over the past 20 years, and has long been a revered DJ and producer known for his distinctive rhythm and soulful sounds. Continuing with his penchant for up-front house music, Johnson kicks off the EP with Movin Baby. A stomping 4/4 beat marches over an intermittent vocal grab, while 90s afflicted key chords flourish steadily on top of trailing drum sequences to give a predatory rhythm with a solid dance-floor focus.
I’m A Freak follows up, infused with the sort of unreserved energy that has characterised Johnson’s music over the years. A solid train-track house groove built from only the sparest of elements kicks things off, before a hypnotic vocal prevails over incessant percussive slices, a wubbing sub bass and thick melodic tones, racing alongside the flecked groove for five minutes of deliciously locked-in pleasure.
Irresistible, stripped-back grooves are clearly a preoccupation for Furness, who delivers more heavy-hitting house in the form of Gurl and Nightclub Romance. Gurl is characterised by crisp, clean percussion sequences, snapping snares and an entrancing male vocal that coheres rhythmically over the cowbell and marching drum combo.
Laying the focus on a classic house aesthetic with acid-fused textures, Nightclub Romance finishes off this well-crafted EP. Acidy stabs and shuffling drums coerce against a flurry of hi-hats and sporadic, dubbed vocal murmurs to give a stomping groove aimed squarely at the dance floor; its unadulterated, primitive authenticity make it the type of track that would have worked just as well in the 90s as it would have today, a testament to the thematic style of the whole EP
- 1. Paul Johnson – Movin Baby
- 2. Paul Johnson – I’m A Freak
- 3. Oli Furness – Gurl
- 4. Oli Furness – Nightclub Romance