Album of the week: Marquis Hawkes – The Marquis of Hawkes

Marquis Hawkes is a beguiling figure in contemporary House and Techno. Earnestly dedicated to his craft as a DJ and producer, his music is a testament to the legacy of House and Techno established in the spirit of Chicago and Detroit all those years ago. There’s an organic evolution to the music he makes as Marquis Hawkes specifically from those first seeds planted through the likes of Frankie Knuckles.

He approaches House music like an artisan, using the raw materials to craft something simple and ornate from a mere few essential parts, and it never comes as anything pretentious or overly indulgent – it’s House music as it’s always intended to be, but for a contemporary ear, syphoning everything from Garage to Electro through the artist.

On his second LP, The Marquis of Hawkes he doesn’t mess with perfection and like his debut, “Social Housing”, merely adapts his sound to the LP format with more vocals, strings and pads softening the tracks for their extended play purposes. It’s an album you can listen to from start to finish and not merely a collection of dance floor cuts.

There’s a toughness to Marquis Hawkes’ music that he projects through bold kicks and fuzzy Juno bass lines, laying there on the surface like the calloused skin of a metal worker’s hands. His music is made up of very little more than these elements on this LP, and the odd pad, or synthesised string never stays for too long before it returns to these core parts.

Marquis Hawkes’ ability to channel a vocal into this formula is unmatched in House music today, and whether he’s using an obscure sample or parlaying the services of Jamie Lidell and Ursula Rocker on the mic on the LP, he adds a dimension to his music that is perfectly suited for this listening experience.

From the high-energy disco-stomper of “We should be free”, featuring the vocals of the aforementioned Lidell to the bicep bulging acid beat of “Tough Love”, Marquis Hawkes covers all corners of the dance floor on this one.

There’s a stifling energy that pulses through the entire album, transporting you to dark a smoke-filled hovel strewn with all the colours of a modern-day club room. There’s a little something here for everybody, from Garage to Disco and of course House, with the artist doing away with any eccentricities that might cloud the purpose of the record. It’s an album of Marquis Hawkes doing what he does best… making bold, potent House music.