Audio Soul Project ‘Hipshake Heartache’

Audio Soul Project / ‘Hipshake Heartache’

Digital / Vinyl

Fresh Meat / Released 21st January 2011

Some say people don’t make proper house music anymore. But there’s a raft of producers that would beg to differ, and we’re not just talking about the new kids quickly becoming ticket-selling names by re-appropriating history.  Just have one listen to this Chicago veteran’s latest, and you’ll realise that it’s not just hype and hope. American beats really are making a resurgence.

Mazi’s been a key figurehead of the Illinois metropolis for some time, and here it’s clear why, as a double dose of Siesta tinged US grooves emit from the second full-length Audio Soul Project release. And, as one would hope from a guy who’s also made a tidy living as a label A&R, things extend beyond the main homestead, out to the garage, and find themselves saturated in futurist R&B along the way.

In terms of flat 4/4s things lunge in between classic, mildly acid tipped outings (Shadow Around Them), to beach bar sunset soundtracks (Dig Up), and full on disco-inspired floor fillers (Good Inside). The result means that if hands in the air whooping and trumpets aren’t your thing, you can quickly find something that’s deeper than a gorge under a THC smog. Of course things rarely stray from the warm, enticing vibes that scream Windy City, but then who’d want anything else from this.

Never Go Away is one track that does differ slightly from the well trodden, though welcome path that’s plotted during the opening numbers. A trance like state is induced by the crafty combination of stepping, snare-happy drums, ongoing high-pitched strings, and filtered, dubby keys, with Nathan Drew Larsen doing a fine job providing a vocal touch soulful enough to make this appeal to the likes of MJ Cole, while it’s not hard to imagine tougher candidates like Terry Francis also falling under the track’s spell.

On the subject of Wiggle-related things, Asha boasts the kind of feeling said imprint would promote. Distant vocals throw out party-time sentiments while a squelching, sub-heavy bassline means it’s distinctly tougher than almost anything else on here. Though don’t leave under the impression it finds itself out of place, as muted organs add some familiar funk elements, and remind us all why this genre is still defined by the phrase ‘grooves all night’. Fans of such notions should check strong candidate for track of the album Song For Fred, which offers up sounds not too far removed from Charles Webster’s inimitable dub of UBQ Project’s When I Fall In Love, before finishing the job properly with a seriously effective sample. To summarise, if you’re looking for some sunshine cast across a low lit basement, symbolically speaking, then this will be right up your street.