Audio Soul Project - Hip Shake Heartache LP on Fresh Meat

Words by: Tom Jones
Posted: 3/1/11 9:56

In over fifteen years within dance music, Mazi Namvar has worked under numerous names, producing a plethora of acclaimed releases. Though it is with his Audio Soul Project, the outlet devoted to the deeper side of house music that he has achieved the most success. New album Hip Shake Heartache, the first since Community which came out on NRK nine years ago, is undoubtedly his finest work to date. Merging the sensibilities of disco, deep house, and soulful house and adding an original warmth and soulfulness, Namvar has created an unmistakably Chicago record that somehow manages to look at the past and the future simultaneously.

The album is sewn together with a masterful flow and emotional continuity. The listener drifts from one track to the next even when the style changes such is the quality of Namvar instrumentation. This musicianship perhaps highlights his years of studio experience, where the producer has perfected the art of showcasing his emotive song writing skills with the use of live performance. The record feels almost like one continuous jamming session, fused together with live instruments, inventive synthesis, real machine music, creative sampling, and swingy drum programming that captures a vibe that is as dynamic as it is authentically House. With the kind of musical ear that landed him A&R jobs at top labels such as the now defunct Afterhours, Namvar not only has a broad range of influences but is able to reference them in a coherent and entirely engaging way.

His use of jacking, funky rhythms mixed with suave, warm instrumentation gives the entire record such a strong sense of feeling. Although the sound is deeply rooted in Chi town it is never limited to just that. Garage dubs "Call of Grace" and "Never Go Away" give a clear nod to the city's heritage but are wrapped in all the trappings of modern production. The lush grooves and powerful keys of album opener "Mnemosyne"comes with a healthy injection of funk, "Have It All Dub" is R&B inspired whereas "My Bluff" and "Good Inside" make for two dancefloor orientated, disco workouts, the latter of which making fantastic use of an analog filtered Loleatta Holloway sample. "Asha" pushes the tempo some more but things are slowed down with the cinematic, deep tones of "Dig Up."

Such a collection of styles and influences that reside on Hip Shake Heartache could have easily got muddled amongst each other and thus dilute one another, yet Namvar has managed to create a an beautiful and wholly engaging album that showcases all the strands of house music that got him involved with music in the first place. Born from a man who is a true musician in the traditional sense, this is an amazing album made by one of dance music's finest producers.

Artist: Audio Soul Project
Title: Hip Shake Heartache
Label: Fresh Meat

01. Mnemosyne
02. Have It All Dub
03. Shadow Around Them
04. Dig Up
05. Good Inside
06. My Bluff
07. Asha
08. Song for Fred (Album Version)
09. Never Go Away
10. Call of Grace (Album Version)

Our Rating: 8/10
Audio Soul Project


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