Remember how good Classic Music Recordings was a decade or so back? Derrick Carter & Luke Solomun’s label delivered some great EPs around the turn of the millennium and really defined that east coast house sound that was so popular at the time. Artists such as Brett Johnson, Lil Mark and Tiefschwarz all released tracks on the label and each record was highly anticipated not only for the music itself, but for the original sleeve artwork that accompanied it.
Another regular contributor to the label was Neil ‘Nail’ Tolliday, a Nottingham lad who many of you may know from his successful partnership with Simon Mills under production/DJ guise ‘Bent’. As electronica oufit Bent he released a string of studio albums and performed a swathe of live/DJ gigs, including the duo’s most noted guest mix for Fabric which featured ‘Whodini’s – Magic’s Wand’ a track I’ll forever associate with ‘working/pissing around listening to music’ in Leeds clothes shops during the heady days of my early 20s.
Going back to Nail’s Classic days, his productions tended to lean towards to a more straight up house vibe and his first release on the label the ‘Nail EP 2’ includes one of my favourite tracks ‘Time For Change’ which features a host of stunning piano keys. Moving forward to the last 12 months and Nail’s been busy in the studio and is firmly back on the house tip, releasing some impressive records on Shabby Doll & Phil Week’s Robsoul imprint.
Nail’s latest double vinyl EP ‘Lost Trax 1997’ has its roots firmly in mid/late 90s house, featuring unreleased tracks from his archive that really capture the sound pioneered by labels such as Classic, Drop Music and 2020 vision during that period. I won’t run through each track individually, but my props go to ‘Nerangus’ a driven disco loop, complete with flute and diva vocal samples; certainly something you could imagine DJ Sneak kicking out back then. Next up ‘No Pocket’ which features a fantastic deep funk groove and saxophone sample that I could just nod away to all day. Finally, I must give a mention to ‘Height’, a great little track featuring a nice heavy bass-line, jovial African style chanting and some general bongo goings on.
Have a listen to samples of all the tracks off the EP below
Maybe it’s just me, but there seems to be a lot of weak, soulless house music around at the minute. Perhaps I’m just not looking in the right places or maybe I’m just far too over-the-hill to be listening to anything over 95 bpm these days (most likely the latter). Maybe I need to stop being a misery, keep an open mind and be more accepting musically, or maybe I just recognise good house when I hear it ….
Lost Trax 1997 EP – available on Vinyl and Download over at Juno HERE