Rudy's Midnight Machine - Retrofit # 6 on Retrofit

Words by: Hannah Briley
Posted: 7/7/11 10:39

Up until last year, London based Jay Shepheard was probably best known for his string of releases on Compost Black for whom he put out his first four EP's between 2007 and 2009. Flitting between Detroit techno in his earlier productions and into deep house and disco in the later, it was early 2010 when Jay launched his own Retrofit imprint. Whatever the genre and whichever the label choice though, Shepheard's productions have always garnered a vintage edge, a classic old school sound regardless of which road he chooses to explore. When Retrofit was launched, it was clear from the offset that Jay's personal style and taste was to stream through all Retrofits outputs, whether they be his own productions or from the few other Retrofit artists.

Matthew Burton & Kate Rathod warmed their stripped back tech style to deep and chugging house on Retrofit 2 and 5 while Tad Willy's collaboration with Jay got disco funky on "A Sopot Connection" and "TEC_1" on Retrofit 3.  Jay's own work has always been the main focus on all five releases but for Retrofit 6, Rudy's Midnight Machine, (who is in fact Robin Lee of Faze Action) takes to the stage alongside an appearance from Shepheard as Ee_Ef_Ex as remixer.  

"Ecstatic Love Glow" kicks of the EP, diving head first into the disco and synth heavy realm that we expect from Retrofit and equally from Robin Lee, whose house outputs with Faze Action as far back as 97' do more than just a little flirting into disco. The intro of tip tapping hat's and conga's leads into a penetrating bass guitar, a riff that goes on to be cleverly mirrored by keyboards and later, by what sounds like a scratchy Lakland guitar. Wooden hats, sirens and a plethora of cosmic elements boogie their way around until the tracks dominant synth parades in and takes over the arrangement, striking a dramatic and smug pose at the close of each stab.

What's clever about "Ecstatic Love Glow", and in fact the whole EP, is the merging of electronic and instrumental, analogue and digital.  Without the guitars, the synths are 'too much', unpleasantly piercing even. Balanced against the rawness of the guitar though, that piercing element simply appears as sharp and confident, bringing that old fashioned funk bang up to date. "Ecstatic Love Glow" gets remixed by Ee_ Ef_ Ex (aka Jay Shepheard) on the B-side with a muffled and deeper take. Synths softened, bass guitar heightened and an exchange of instruments casts a warm, balmy dew over the original, giving it a broader appeal that will more than likely fall into the hands of most Retrofit fans due to its deeper and easier on the ear approach.

The second track of "East Side Good Living" sticks with its predecessor's groove; cosmic sirens, electronic whistles and metallic drum taps yet again highlighting Rudy's modern disco sound. Unfortunately though it doesn't garner quite the hook and originality of "Ecstatic Love Glow" and fails to unfold into anything memorable during its length.  

Artist: Rudy's Midnight Machine
Title: Retrofit # 6
Label: Retrofit

Ecstatic Love Glow
East Side Good Living
Ecstatic Love Glow (Ee Ef Ex 12" version)

Our Rating: 7/10
Rudy's Midnight Machine


Roberto Capuano
Politics Of Dancing
Ralph Lawson