Album of the Week: Various Artists – I Wanna See All My Friends At Once Vol 2

NYC Loft records came to the world a bit auspiciously last year. Claiming to release unreleased material from a prominent New York production crew, the validity of which has yet to be checked, the rate at which they’ve released tracks and the quality of the music that they’ve produced suggests NYC Loft Trax has its roots in a prominent fixture in New York nonetheless. NYC Loft in name bears some association with David Mancuso and his loft, an audacious move and although we sincerely doubt that there’s any relevance there (Mancuso doesn’t strike us as a locked groove kinda guy), there’s certainly an age appropriateness that doesn’t completely rule out the possibility. Their releases thus far have focussed on lo-fi House cuts that err on the side of Nu-Groove, music that speak of more than just a dance floor functionalism, but can light up a House set in an instant. “I Wanna See All My Friends At Once Vol 2” is the latest document in this series and our album of the week, and as much as we like this release for its own qualities, it gives us an opportunity to bring this remarkable young label to the worlds attention.

It’s the first release that actually features artist names in the titles, but with no connection to other tracks, except DJ freestyle who remixes Pascal Cordoba on the final cut, these names might be little more than a tantalising ruse. Like previous releases, “I Wanna See All My Friends At Once Vol 2” is grounded in an early nineties House aesthetic, replete with R&B vocal samples and bright Piano chords that cut through any mix. Melodies and harmonies overwhelm dusty staccato rhythms that sparkle with the time of prominent hi-hats. There’s a remarkable energy to the music that undermines its Deep House tag with a melodic and rhythmic insistence with none of the features of an introverted creativity at play. The music is direct and to the point, without being boring and formulaic, and has given Nu-groove a new face, which is nothing if not kaleidoscopic. From the subtle Rhodes chords of  “Holding you Close” to the acid tinged “Comblnaca” that rounds off the compilation, this record is made up of many flavours, while remaining grounded in the NYC Loft Trax sound.

Most importantly it gets the Olanskii seal of approval, by whose insistence we’ve made this our album of the week. “Get two copies” he said so we’ll try not to where out the grooves too much before Frædag rolls along, where we’re sure this record will be a prominent feature.