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Mickey Moonlight – Close To Everything review

Mickey Moonlight has always seemed out of place on the Ed Banger roster, but then he’s remained something of an under appreciated musical savant on these shores for well over a decade. For those of a certain vintage why not cast your mind back to the days when Jockey Slut was a living, breathing, pithy fountain of dancefloor knowledge and you might recall Moonlight appearing under his Midnight Mike moniker on their excellent Disco Pogo cover mount CDs.

Those who matured too late to know what this writer is talking about can at least bask in the fact Moonlight has a new album out soon on the grizzled Parisian imprint. Mickey Moonlight & The Time Axis Manipulation Corporation is framed as the debut opus from Moonlight, though some might recall his ill-executed Midnight Parade karaoke covers album from a few years back. A chance to bask in what to expect from the album is offered by lead single Close To Everything, which features the vocal talents of Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jnr, surely one of the most flamboyant front men currently operating.

The title track neatly echoes the early days of Chicago House, where heartfelt emotive male vocals regularly lined the basic, rough hewn drum machine patterns and steadily intoxicating bass line. At less than four minutes it’s also the kind of track which might easily cross over into wider acceptance and is surely more worthy of attention than the Guetta led march of idiocy that currently dominates popular culture. Alongside it, “This Son” ensures Moonlight is making no concessions with regards to his avant garde nature, it being a short excursion through delicate Tropicala featuring esteemed steel pan player Fimber Bravo.

This being an Ed Banger release there are naturally remixes involved with Dirtybird familia The Martin Brothers present and correct for the main room clubbing clique, and Moonlight also contributes further renditions. Of far more interest here is the remix from Trevor Jackson, returning to his Playgroup moniker for the first time since a remix for Tiga last year. Obviously inspired by the nascent house sound of the original, and perhaps poking fun at the current vogue for exhuming forgotten gems and remastering them, his “Back To 86” remix is produced as a live bootleg, heavily saturated and with crowd noise intact. It’s debatable whether you could get away with playing this to an unassuming crowd, and by the time it’s over you kind of want to hear the untainted version, but it’s an ingenious effort from Jackson.

Tony Poland