Left at the wayside for much of the 2000s while producers stripped techno to its bare essentials or tested the durability of their subwoofers, this decade has seen the re-emergence of house music from clubland’s dark corners. Producers are taking solace in the form’s purity, from UK upstarts like Julio Bashmore and Pearson Sound shackling UK Bass signifiers to 4x4 rhythms, to Berlin’s Motor City Drum Ensemble and Dublin’s Space Dimension Controller reveling in forging deep, cosmic atmospheres.
But for all these new directions, house music is often at its best when left in its classic form – stabbed piano chords, high-hat splashes and diva invocations. It’s a view espoused by Azari and III, the team-up of Canadian musicians Dinamo Azari and Alixander III who come to London this week to launch their self-titled album. The band jet in from Toronto, fast becoming a dance music hub with acts like The Art Department and Basic Soul Unit finding sanctuary from the eternal blizzards in House’s warm atmospheres. This album launch seems somewhat delayed, their self-titled record being readily available on import for the last six months. Whatever, you don’t need an excuse for a party.
Their twin anthems Hungry for The Power and Reckless With Your Love were everywhere in 2010, mixing timeless elements into vital dancefloor destroyers. If you enjoyed Hercules and Love Affair but found their take on house somewhat sterile, a little safe, Azari and III’s album is a lot more muscular — the band dubbed it “the soundtrack to dancing like your life depends on it.” Take album cut Undecided, whose frenzied synths and sleazy nocturnal vibes invoke a monstrous splicing of Lords of Acid with Soft Cell’s Sex Dwarf. On a car journey over Christmas my own mother turned this track off claiming she’d probably have to be on drugs to enjoy it – always the hallmark of an absolute banger.
The pair don’t adhere to the two guys behind a mixer formula either, employing the fabulously named singers Fritz and Cedric to add to the party atmosphere. The two vocalists look like they’ve stumbled off the set of Madonna’s Vogue video — little surprise that the band are rumored to be supporting Madge on her 2012 tour. This being their only London date, Thursday’s show at Heaven marks a great opportunity to catch these guys in the intimate setting their sound demands. The UK economy shouldn’t be the only thing getting down this week.
Azari & III play Heaven on Thur 2 February. Tickets are available here.
Image from radio1interactive Flickr account under a Creative Commons Licence