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West Norwood Cassette Library – Get Lifted review

It’s interesting watching the phenomenon of popularity, when certain producers, labels or parties can get swept up in a torrent of approval from all and sundry, without seemingly being concerned with such flashy notions as marketing, promotion or branding.  As such, the success of someone like West Norwood Cassette Library instills some faith that sometimes, widespread recognition and respect can be based purely on no-frills talent.

What has been markedly noticeable about all the WNCL output so far is that it doesn’t make any daring leaps to re-invent the wheel, tackle trendy tempos or get all post-modern. Instead of using an old template of sounds as so many do today, it’s actually a fearless old-skool give-a-fuck spirit that makes the WNCL output so addictive, so refreshing and so damn fun. On this release, a cheeky mid-nineties vibe is undeniably present, but somehow fuses Strictly Rhythm-style funk with a rolling break, hip-hop stabs and positively modern acid squelches. It’s quite simply a party rocker, with a tongue-in-cheek lyrical spit of spiritual fulfilment. There’s always something overtly familiar about tracks like this, but when the influences are so myriad and then melded so effectively, you’ll waste vital dancing time trying to work out the source.

Karenn, the new production endeavour of latterday R & S alumni Blawan and Pariah, get the call for remix duties and opt for a rough and chunky house reworking. Employing almost industrial hits which keep the melodics muffled and muted, their revision makes for tracky, functional house music as it should be made, as if the Berghain boys weren’t taking everything so seriously all the time.

Oli Warwick