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LHAS – Learning To Live review

The Vibrations imprint was founded by the Roots Unit duo of Piers “Soft Rocks” Harrison and Chris Galloway last autumn with the mission statement of formulating another way to lose money alongside their vinyl buying and alcohol indulging habits. The inaugural release from Mark E exceeded expectations by offering up a hypnotic dose of heavily compressed house and spinal techno beatdowns.

This love of the roots of house is clearly going to be a Vibrations theme, because Learning To Live, the label’s second offering, is even more of a retro-futurist gem than the first. Perhaps we should have expected nothing less from Jamie Read, a man whose musical fingers have been in a variety of label shaped pies for nearly two decades and whose productions have always boasted a classic deep house sensibility

The LHAS moniker he currently trades under has at various points been shared with the esteemed Felix Dickinson of Bad Passion Project fame, and stands for ‘Larry Heard Appreciation Society’. Currently a solo endeavour, LHAS allows Read the opportunity to fully indulge his passion for the Mr Fingers sound.

Although obviously contemporary compositions, the four tracks here sound entrenched in 80s production techniques. The clattering drums and warm, rich basslines in particular bear the hallmarks of classic 1980s house hardware, most specifically the 808 drum machine and 303 bass sequencer. Add to this Read’s knack of finding the right balance between piano-heavy debauchery and sweet, eyes-wide-shut deepness, and you’re on to a winner.

Each of the four tracks has its’ own charms. There’s the slamming acid-meets-early Detroit techno vibes of “Beaufords Justice”, and two heart-warming trips into vintage piano house territory in the shape of “So Virgo” and “Learning To Live”. Best of all, though, is “Call That Jazz”, a laidback, next-level journey into soundscape deep house that somehow sounds both enchantingly old and thrillingly futuristic. Like the rest of the EP, it’s a late night delight.

Matt Anniss