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6th Borough Project – One Night In The Borough review

Thanks to three previous 12” and digital samplers, most of you will have a fair idea what to expect from this debut full-length from Scottish house-disco fusionists Graeme Clark and Craig Smith. With a mix of disco-influenced deep house, slick tech-house grooves and sample-heavy bumpers, the samplers hinted at greatness. Out of context, though, the collated tracks just sounded like solid dancefloor fare.

This is the strongest argument in One Night In The Borough’s favour. While individual tracks are strong – and, in most cases, deliciously DJ-friendly – it was clearly designed to be listened to in sequence, as a single body of work. Basically, it was designed as a “proper” album, and therefore should be listened to as an album. Following a crackly, spoken word intro, we’re treated to the typically atmospheric “Just Let Yourself Go” – a near beatless burst of starry-eyed goodness that’s almost Balearic in its endorphin-inducing loveliness. When the piano-laden slow house jam “If The Feeling’s Right” and midtempo chug of “BURT (The Journey)” fade to silence 10 minutes later, you know you’re in for a treat.

Over the next 70 minutes, that’s how it pans out. There’s little deviation away from the duo’s distinct house pulse and brilliantly chosen disco, soul and boogie samples (aside, perhaps, from the hip-hop tempo downtempo jam “Settle”), but that does nothing to dampen the mood. In fact, it gives the album a coherence and flow often missing from full-length house sets. It helps that there’s plenty of variety within that – contrast the slamming loopiness of “Find A Way” or the breezy soulfulness of “Back To Me” with the hypnotic Balearic chug of “Deep C” or the retro-futurist vibrancy of “Changin’”. House is their currency, but house is a broad church – and they’re determined to use that freedom wisely.

Matt Anniss