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Unknown Artist - Private 01 (Raw Russian, 2019)

Deep underground REALNESS from the mysterious all Russian Label.

Over the past few years, Raw Russian has served up some magical moments within dance music. From hardcore rave, to deep jungle reminiscent of the 1990s, to raw and uncompromising techno, to deep and emotive house cuts that groove right to the very core. This label is delivering the real underground vibes of today, and with its recent release of R U S (Russian Underground Sadness), which will receive its own review in due course, showcasing the depth and breadth of talent within the Russian scene currently. Delivering all the moods, all the textures, all the grooves, all the drums that you could wish for, it is definitely worth delving into this most enticing of labels.

One of the most eye catching releases of this year has been the 'Private 01' 7" release, that is the first in a series of singles released by various anonymous Russian producers. Both tracks exude a hearty soulful depth of sonic house, with the level and scale of the tracks covering the bottom of the seas to the clouds in the sky. The first track, named 'Untitled', kicks straight into life, with a Omar S vibe kick to it, upbeat, before a synth line drives in, making itself known to the people. Airy and energetic, uplifting and beautiful, pads and a pulsating bass line kick in masterfully. All the missing elements suddenly driving this song into another dimension, two halves expertly placed (and this is not an easy thing to do). Its a real head bobber, and one that would go down beautifully in a club context, deep in the night, hands in the air kind of shit. It has a real Detroit feel too it - think Chris Gray, Moodymann (very much like 'what am I gunna do'), Omar, it has it all. Simplicity sometimes does it better, with the groove relying on those little changes to make a track pop. This one does it extremely well.

To cap off the release, comes 'Untitled'. The range pitched way down, like its been recorded in a fish tank, bass turned way up. Pads gentle, chords stab lightly, before a lovely vocal line comes in, again just gently moving on top of the bass and light kicks. This song is very soft, given that most of the elements have moved to the back, in favour of the bass, that kicks and grooves around immensely. A little key line comes through, adding further to a very soft and beautiful track. Less straight up than its cousin on the A side, it takes that synth feel of the first track that persists towards the end and draws it out over the whole track, taking you on this emotive downtempo house trip that just delves further and further. A real deep house banger, and a perfect foil to the energy of the first track.

Two sides of the same coin. This EP perfectly sums up the sort of vibe that the label has delved into the past few years, and long may it continue. Two fresh takes on the straight up house we all know and love, and the deeper jazzy house that focuses more on the layering of elements and little solos that just smack of summery days and dark blue nights. Raw Russian, keep it going baby.

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