Various - Adeen Records presents Make Up: The Edits (Adeen Records, 2021)
On one of the grooviest records of the year, Adeen label head Camille and House icon Chez Damier link up to curate a collection of 8 rare and unknown Disco cuts, all of which are beautifully edited by Italian maestro Nico Lahs.
The art of the Edit is alive and well, and this sentiment shows itself in various corners of the contemporary music landscape. Originally designed as a method of getting around the limited track length of a 7" vinyl, producers started releasing touched up versions of longer Disco compositions on 12" that were better suited to the all nighter dancefloors that demanded the kind of energy that you only find in an ever evolving and meaty cut, and thus edits became a staple of not just Disco but dance music in general. Its considered in many ways an artform, a method of editing that cuts up and stitches together sequences and elements from the original tapes and draws focus to the instrumentals, breaking down the melodies into rich intoxicating choruses and verses, allowing for listeners and dancers alike to revisit their favourite tracks with new eyes. Its about the interpretation of the essence of the originals that allows for these new ideas to take root, with editors looking to continue the fires that burn so brightly in the originals and re-orientate the cut to sound deeper, more rhythmic, more journey-esq. Initial edits and remixes often stuck pretty close to the original material, with certain breaks and instruments emphasised to turn focuses to certain aspects of the groove that really struck a chord with the producer, with the aim being to breath new life into aspects that would ignite dancefloors all over again. As the 70s became the 80s, a new generation of producers and sounds came into the picture, who mixed together a shared passion of the Golden Age of Disco and the newly emerging technological advances in musical hardware to release cuts that were electronically funky, with beefy basslines and sparser compositions that provided ripe material to play around with. It was around this time that dub instrumentals became a hot bed for musical experimentation and edit majesty, with these versions drawing focus to the bass and drums to great affect to dancers and music lovers alike. Disco in its many shapes and forms would filter into the now iconic Chicago House scene during the mid to late 80s, with the genre intertwining itself with the genre going into the 90s, where many House artists lifted iconic grooves and placed them deep within a 4 to the floor rhythm, in turn crafting the disco house sound in the process. The artform of the edit at this point had become an essential element of dance music, with its role in dance music mirrored by the important sampling developments in Hip Hop, and going forward a plethora of artists were engaged with reimagining soul, funk, boogie and disco cuts within their own music. As we moved from the 90s and into the 2000s and beyond, there's no where you look without some form of groove laden music existing in some ways, with the hybrid of house rhythms and Disco sensibilities found within the Nu-Disco genre an example of many years of melding together the concepts of house and disco. Edits are now a bona-fide genre in their own right, with many contemporary labels dedicating themselves to finding the rarest of gems to shatter the dance floor and spark many journeys back through time. When done right, Edits offer up something fresh, something invigorating, the sound of a producer searching the grooves and the rhythms for the essence that flows through the guitars, drums, keys and vocals to find the essence that binds the music together, and when this spiritual element has been discovered they have the skills to break it all down and rebuild from the bottom up, crafting in the process a track that maintains the same shell but has its inner elements reworked. Its always a special moment when a producer has a go at a well known track, not necessarily breathing new life into it but crafting an alternative universe for it to reside in, one that feels familiar but has a new personality, complimenting its roots with a new kind of danceability.
In a power move that sees a talented trio of icons, label heads and contemporary darlings come together, the latest record from the Adeen label has it all when it comes to the edit as an artform, and how a lot of knowledge, passion and technique can go a long way when it comes to making an edit really sing. Camille, the label head, has overseen some stunning music coming out of the Adeen door for sometime now, with the spectrum pivoting around deep house traditions but finding the time to accommodate other styles and orientations. The label has released vinyl from a stellar list of musicians and producers, including Dub legend Lee Scratch Perry, Italian synth maestro Maurizio Dami (under his Alexander Robotnick name), Detroit House royalty in Alton Miller, newcomer Scott Hess and Italian House producer Nico Lahs, with the label championing the notion of established artists working alongside up and comers which crafts a wholesome family vibe to proceedings. Each record displays a overt level of personality and feeling, with each one providing a droplet that falls into the ocean that is Adeen's bountiful sound, one that accommodates all through its doors. Be sure to check out all of the releases this label has to offer!
Camille certainly knows how to curate a sense of identity in a label, and for the latest record on the label he employs the help of the iconic Chez Damier to select the cuts that are found on the 'Make Up' release. Damier needs little introduction in the House world, with his discography and musical journey a treasure trove of excellence that helped to set the tone of deep house during the 90s, something that was built over time via the Prescription label he co-founded with long term collaborator and house legend Ron Trent. Damier curated a very distinctive voice within the flourishing deep house scene, one that paired delicate chordal progressions with his own intricate vocal work and powerful yet delicately intricate drumming patterns, with an ability to craft moments that took the tone down into the introspectives or turned it up into a totally extroverted experience, such was his handle on his sound and his groove. His works are the stuff of legend, releasing on timeless labels like KMS, Balance and his own Prescription imprint, where alongside Trent he was responsible for constructing and fine tuning the perimeters of the early 90s deep house sound we all love and cherish. His works are a never ending cycle of brilliance, with our favourites including 1992's 'Can You Feel It', 1993's 'Untitled' (both KMS releases); the first of two excellent trio of records released alongside Ron Trent, 'Hip To Be Disillusioned' (1994), 'The Language' (1995, which also featured The Collective), and 'The Foot Therapy' (1995, alongside Joshua and Abacus); the incredible 'Forever Monna' record, that was released alongside Stacy Pullen in 1995; the deep house perfection that is 'Close', which landed in 1997; both the Time Visions records; and finally, the 2017 release 'Mental Breakdown', that was Damier's last solo effort. You would be hard pressed to find a more accomplished and integral house discography from the dawn of the 90s to the present day, with Damier's works inspiring countless producers around the world with its impeccable touch and deep intricate melodies, and we cannot recommend you going back through his releases and falling in love all over again.
To complete the trio, Nicola Loporchio was tasked with applying his winning touch to the classy selection that Camille and Damier bought to the table, with the results quite extraordinary indeed. Loporchio has overseen a meteoritic rise in not just his own works but also that of his label, Cosmic Rhythm, that has made the world fall head over heels once again for the tones and textures of Italo Dream house. Loporchio, much like Camille, has curated a beautiful essence within the Cosmic Rhythm discography, where the sweetest of chords and the broadest of sunny atmospheres come together in the most tantalising of manners, providing us with enough goodness to last a lifetime and beyond. Aside from the excellent CR imprint, Loporchio has released a significant amount of records under the name Nico Lahs, which over the past year has seen his star rise higher and higher as he releases records that show the depth and scope of his creative wills. As a contemporary producer, Loporchio has much to offer and it feels like he has so much more to give, such is his passion and technique able to transcend into so much of house's rich tapestry, providing us with a plethora of styles and feels to sink our teeth into. Under the Nico Lahs name, be sure to check out the excellent 'Visions' record, the utterly superb 'Blow Your Mind' EP, and of course, his debut LP under the name, 'Freedom', that was one of our highlights from 2020.
So, we have Camille and Damier on selection duties, and Lahs on editing duties, and the results? well they're pretty spectacular. The collection of tunes that are pulled together are absolutely top draw, hand picked from the annuals of time for their groove, depth and presence, alongside being selected and handled with care and adoration - which means a lot when tunes are being edited - from both the duo who selected the tunes and by the person who did the edits. Lahs does an incredible job with the tracks, feeling out the grooves and rhythms from each cut to provide balanced and expertly conceived re-workings that are faithful to the original recordings but injects them with personality and flair. Each tune feels like a little window back through time, its historical significance brought forward to us to enjoy in all its grooviness and emotiveness, and as an album of edits, there are few that match it. So, without further delay, lets dive right into this incredible record.....
Up first comes 'Coco Kane', and this one begins in the most up tempo of places indeed. The kicks and hats lead the groove, as the bass key line swirls in and around the backdrop, slight and subtle at first before moving right into our main view, its arrangement rising higher and higher as the percussive arrangement looks to match its change in volume and complexity. The first climax arrives as the horns and keys come together to signal at the full melodic possibilities found in this track, before slipping back into the sub base groove, as we then slide into the main chorus, with its fullness and unbelievable depth taking the breath away. The groove remains such a consistent throughout, with the dramatic strings and superb key sequences furthering the groove onwards and upwards, the balance between the quieter moments and the big fullness of expression pulled off expertly. There's still time for a number of enormous flourishes within the choral sections, where the horns lift the spirits higher and higher within the dance, and we leave the experience feeling incredibly satisfied. Top notch. Up next comes 'For Real', and this one begins with the kicks and the distant synths and tones calling out to us across the plain. What happens next is a thing of beauty, as the harp sequence and guitar notes strike a chord deep within us, with all manner of melodic touches adding to the warm feeling growing within us at an ever increasing rate, with the violins that slide into view just after adding the final touch to an utterly compelling opening. The drums and vocal line adjust themselves within the cut just after, revealing further depth to the edit and the original, with chordal lines and a large scale revealed, with Lahs doing an impeccable job in considering how the varying structures work alongside one another as the cut flows onwards and upwards. The violins permeate through the backdrop, the rising bass line adds further to the groove, and as we move forwards we see the filtering effect take root as we arrive into the final movements, the track playing itself out as gracefully as it arrived in this world, softly exuding its influence over us one final time before fading away into the distance. A truly gorgeous track. Up next comes 'Giving My Love', and this one is shaping up to be a big one. The drums are kept in the foreground as the instrumentals are filtered out in the distance, teasing to us at their potential before they slam right into view, and the manner in which they arrive just gets you going in all sorts of ways, with the overall structure of the groove utterly infectious. The violins are looped to great effect, with the vocals arriving soon after, the performance filled with passion and pride, as Lahs crafts a swift but effective build up into the chorus line that is as emphatic as anything, with the segment that follows filled with melody and feel. The next verse arrives and is delivered with the same level of grace and meaning, as we arrive once more at the transfixing chorus, that you know will have people loosing their minds on the dancefloor when we are able to celebrate being together again. The track is passed through a filter in true edit fashion, before climbing right back up to its full glory, with one final pass through the epic chorus that still does the job in lifting our spirits up higher and higher. Incredible!
Up next comes 'SpanDisco', and this one begins in typically groovy territories. The drums are full and lively, providing a solid as hell foundation for the bass line to come into the picture, as a chordal and guitar line slide into the picture in dual fashion, with the short and sharp vocal line moving into view on top to further add to the groove moving onwards. The drums take a breather as the chorus comes into view, the vocals rising higher to provide a melodic snapshot, before moving right back into the groove with the added bonus of the horns to keep us company, with the element crafting further intrigue and engagement with the core rhythm. This one is quite the ride, so be prepared for the groove of a lifetime! Up next comes 'Gator Bait', and this one slows the pace down a bit but the feel remains just as strong. The drums are crisp and hard hitting, providing plenty of room in the middle for the gorgeous bass line and dynamic guitar work to come into the picture, with the playful as hell keys residing right on top of proceedings to great effect, with the background vocals whispering through the sea of delight. The track then shifts through filtered transitions that draw focus to the guitar riff, providing a climatic breather of sorts that rolls back into the original structure, before quickly sliding right into yet another break section that sees the keys really shine, with additional rhythmic layers adding further enrichment to the vibe. Its an intoxicating blend, one that continues onwards and upwards with each passing moment, never for one moment looking back over its shoulder as it grooves right into our hearts. The additional vocal lines at the end keep the blood pumping, with our mind firmly set on what the night has to offer. A groove to die for. Up next comes 'Koke', and this one starts off with the kicks setting the scene. The varying hats add depth to the percussive structure, and before long we are joined by an infectious bass line, which acts very much like a drumming feature with its presence set deep within the simmering energy, with the filtering in of the main melodic section building and building as time goes by. The guitar and strings make their way to the front of the ensemble, with the drums dropping out for a moment to introduce the vocals and other elements, the blend lasting for mere seconds before swerving right back into the main groove. The strings remain the key melodic feature here, as they solidly hold the top end of the cut to drive the feeling onwards, with their presence moving out of view to build once more into a climatic dip. The breakdown and its resulting uplift are truly glorious, with the organ literally lifting the track upwards as the vocal sample calls out with a feverish energy, as the guitar maniacally pushes itself on the right hand side of the pan. This cut is all about the swells, with each swell adding more than was in the last wave, with the built up energy reaching such dizzying heights as the track closes out. What a track!
As we arrive at the D side of the record, we have 'Novela Das Nove', which starts off in suitably spacious and in depth surroundings. The drums are scaled across a wide plain, with the spaces between filled by the subtle bass notes that pulsate within the structure, as the drums exude a textured afterglow that continue to fill the spaces with vitality and feeling. The breakdown sees the introduction of the key lines into the picture, their placement finding a delicate balance between a rising solo line and the gorgeous backing chord progression, their chime like nature irresistible to the ears as we slide back into the hefty drumming pattern. We emerge from that pattern to arrive into a full on melodic section, with differing sequences weaving themselves in and around the drumming patterns, drawing us further and further into the mix that is laid out before us. That top end line is incredible, helping to craft and nurture the energy as it continues to flow and then flow some more, with both the drumming sections and melodic areas operating so very well as a dance floor soundtrack. Impeccable. To wrap things up, we have 'Thank You For My Life', which takes the tones down a bit to slightly quieter territories. The kicks are short and sweet, with the melodics stuck right in the background, but this arrangement doesn't last for long as the filter brings the instruments right to the foreground, with the vocal line allowed full reign to lord over the top end, beautifully navigating the rolling drums and intricate guitar groove. The arrangement goes on and then some more, inviting us further into its beautifully laid out vision of soul and boogie, with the breakdown just serving to endear us more to the groove and all it has to offer. Its a perfect ender to the record, to the night we have just had, to the experience we have shared with the smiling faces all around us.
The edit is called an artform, and this record goes above and beyond to embody that statement. From top to bottom, this album is a labour of love, starting off with the incredible selection skills of Damier and Camille, who draw from years of passion and adoration to serve up 8 tracks that in their own right are show stoppers, with the icing on the cake being Lah's superb reworkings of these timeless cuts. The trio operate as an integrated entity, as they draw inspiration from the same source that gives life to a edits collection that honours the essences and grooves of the originals alongside providing a new edge to their armoury. The scale of the experience is so very satisfying, with tunes to cater for any moment in the dance or indeed with a loved one at home, it ticks all the boxes - and writes some new rules too - about how this artform should be approached and delivered. We can't heap more praise on this LP, so why not give it a go yourself - you might just find yourself daydreaming to these grooves time and time again.
Support the troops: