Once in a while, a 12” single will come along and take you by surprise. This release from Myriadd on Crème Organization’s Crème JAKS offshoot is one such record. That it’s a high quality release is not that surprising – Crème’s acid-tinged releases are usually well worth a look – but it still sent our collective jaw dropping downwards as soon as the needle crackled into the first vintage groove.
Everything about Beyond This Life screams “must check”. For starters, it has a tempting premise; it’s allegedly by a mystery well-known UK producer, under a new, secretive alias. Stylistically, it has been described as “vintage Chicagoan jack”. These two things, plus the recent spate of high quality, retro-futurist house 12s from Berlin, Amsterdam, Bristol and even Brighton (check the LHAS release on Soft Rocks’ Vibrations imprint), all point to Beyond This Life being something special.
The vibe of the four cuts on offer is distinctly vintage and Chicagoan in tone, coming on like a long-lost collaboration between Larry Heard (Mr Fingers era, obviously) and Virgo Four. The beats and basslines wobble off course like the greatest hardware-made machine music, and the simple riffs, chords and melodies bubble seductively in that naïve way that made early Windy City deep house so blissfully good. While it’s all done with a knowing nod to the innovators and a sly musical wink, there’s a freshness and innocence to proceedings that raises the music above mere revivalism.
So what of the tracks themselves? “Keep On Searching” magnificently fuses the twittering synth flutes of classic early Nu Groove with the deep bump of the aforementioned Mr Heard, whilst “The Outer Limits” sounds like Bobby Konders after a sweaty night down the Muzic Box. The outstanding “A Hazy Memory” pairs thrillingly aquatic low-end with the simplest of synths strings to devastating effect. It’s 1988 all over again. Then there’s the title track, the heaviest jacker of the lot, which sways a little before charging into the dancefloor with an 808 in tow. Beyond This Life might hark back to a bygone age, but it’s as fresh as house records come. Highly recommended.