Jay Shepheard/Tad Wily – Retrofit #3 review

Having hooked up with multi-instrumentalist Tad Wily, it sounds like Retrofit boss Jay Shepheard is trying to push deep house in a new direction. With so much of the contemporary music in this bracket either trying too hard to appropriate sounds from the timeless US style or, worse still, attempting to beef up the jaded drums of mnml, Shepheard and Wily’s rawer, more organic approach is welcome. “Parallel Perc” provides a hint of where the duo is headed, with a groovy, low-slung bassline and dubbed out drums hinting at dance music’s funk and disco heritage – connections that are reinforced thanks to the use of soaring, orchestral strings.

“Haselnuss” has a similar set of influences, although the duo put a greater emphasis on a funk guitar riff and melancholy synth hooks while “A Sopot Connection” also doffs its cap to the 70s, with its prowling, predatory bassline sounding like a lost porn movie soundtrack, were it not for the accompanying juxtaposition of cool, icy synths. Finally, “TEC 1” also references the late 70s and early 80s, but rather than disco, focuses on the primal electro funk of Cameo to make its mark. Like the previous releases in this series, Retrofit #3 shows that with a little imagination and some good old-fashioned perspiration, house music can still sound exciting.

Richard Brophy