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White Noise: Nitetime – Jive Talk

Friday, 17 August 2012

Nitetime – Jive Talk

Label: Future Classic

While house music is experiencing a big resurgence recently, it has led to a lot of discourse on whether producers and artists are looking to the future or the past; those leaning forwards introducing the digital traits of the bass scene, and those with their eyes fixed on the past bringing back old hardware and tougher sounds. I think what is so often left behind in these discussions is the ability to listen to a release with fresh ears, unpolluted by genre and era, to listen out for a good groove or a killer hook.

Nitetime, a Boston-based production duo comprised of Kon (who you might remember as half of Kon & Amir) and Don (aka Whisky Baron), easily sidestep this debate by the pure quality of their tunes. This is pure house music, and although the music has a definitive retro tint, it never feels like throwback; because how can any tunes that are so danceable really ever feel out of style? 

Each track on offer corners a different niche of the house sound with bombast and a deft eye on structure. Opener Teddy’s Jam is likely to win you over immediately, with its big-room stomp that builds achingly over echoing vocals to a breakdown of slow, melancholic pads. In a way, the track feels a little like house music that’s lost its lustre and spirit, crafting a deadly-deep groove that feels more than a little introspective. Even when a flawless piano loop emerges midway through the track, it feels jaded as well as jubilant, and in this contrast lies the track’s very unique appeal.

Once Nitetime have lured you in with their sound, they don’t let the quality slip for a second. Hey is a slightly more upbeat affair but retains a lazy groove, with hypnotic synthwork building over a tight bass bounce to a series of drifting female vocals. On All The People things start jumping, 909s bounce to jittery beats to create a tune that keenly evokes that early 90s sound, and it includes a superb breakdown replete with tight handclaps and a catchy piano hook. Meanwhile Jive Talk contains some of the strangest sounds on the EP, big synth sweeps taking centre-stage and accompanying a vast array of detailed and textured percussion; from congas to cowbells.

The whole release has a sunny, block-party feel to it, but that’s the result of a keen attention to detail as well as the strong grooves. The production is notably rich and warm at all times, yet the sounds come across as crisp and distinct, indicating a mixdown that’s a perfect fusion of modern and retro styles. Furthermore the interludes of chat and loose beats in the outros of the tracks really recall how releases were formatted back in the day; more as a complete listening experience than a disposable selection of interchangeable tunes. It’s in this very respect that Nitetime have really pulled it off; Jive Talk functions even better as a 4-track release than as individual songs: you’ll want to play it from start to finish, and probably a whole lot more than just once.


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