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October & Borai – Sticky Fingers review

For some time now there’s been a murmur about house music in Bristol. The city has always had crews representing the sound, even in the dominant days of D&B and dubstep, but in these genre-blending times there’s a strong resurgence in deep, creative 4/4. It’s a sound that carries on the city’s fine tradition of reacting to the music happening elsewhere and conjuring up a meditative and heartfelt response; that inimitable Bristolian wooze that has emanated from the West Country since the days of The Pop Group.

As such, the low-key, limited-run BRSTL imprint comes well timed to capture the essence of what is happening in the city, amongst a circle of producers that include Kowton, Outboxx, Kidkut, Asusu and Vessel. October however has been plying his trade in house and techno for many a year in Bristol, and as such makes perfect sense as the first to step up to the UV-stamped plate.

Joining forces with his long-time studio partner Borai, the wild approach that October normally adopts gets honed here into two devastatingly direct and bumping jams. “Sticky Fingers” is a pitch-perfect dreamy house cut, driven by a crisp beat punctuated with two sharp bongo hits and an unmistakable DX7 organ bassline. Really though, it’s the haunting pads and synths that make the track stand aside from the glut of deep house getting produced at the moment, creating a rose-tinted but ever-so-slightly twisted view of vintage deep house.

“Left Out” on the other hand is a lean, focused club banger, maximising on a raw, dry shuffle and a nagging vocal snippet to deadly effect. It’s an overtly minimal track, but the beats fall so hard and with such funk that no extraneous decoration is needed. The filtered Detroit stabs that do come in later on are just enough to spice up proceedings and the round the track out.

With the creative energy buzzing around this kind of music in Bristol at the moment, October and Borai have set the tone perfectly for a label that should shed light on some of the most interesting output the city has to offer.

Oli Warwick