Julian Jonah - In Retrospect EP on Aux Rec

Words by: Carlos Hawthorn
Posted: 25/2/13 9:01

Electronic music in 2012 was dominated by a fetishisation and subsequent revitalisation of the sounds of early 90s house. Given the hoards of producers that followed the likes of Bicep, Ejeca and Paris' MLIU crew blindly into the night, it was a fad that was destined for over-saturation, due in part to a widespread lack of interest and understanding for what exactly those early records were all about.

Thankfully, labels like Berlin's Aux-Rec exist to counteract this lack of curiosity, making a point out of (re)releasing nothing but the best of the old school. For their seventh outing and the first of the new year, a light shone once again on London house pioneer Julian Jonah and two of his most celebrated cuts.

Messrs. Knuckles, Morales, Kupper and Poppo, better known by their remix and production moniker Def Club, were widely acknowledged to have an unrivalled grasp of the intricacies and subtleties of the contemporary dance-floor. On It's a Jungle Out There the four of them combine to produce as classic sounding a slice of smooth, sensual house music as you're ever likely to hear. An atmospheric melting pot of police sirens, car horns and measured hi-hats grabs the listener instantly by the lapels, drawing them in to ride the wonderfully light, delectable groove. Billie Ray Martin's heartfelt backing track coupled with the real-life frankness of Jonah's spoken-word causes feeling and soul to ooze from the track's every pore, with Poppo's dancing piano adding that deft touch of dance-floor zest. Pure, unadulterated class.

Jealousy & Lies begins life on edgier footing, although this initial tough, sneering veneer of rugged claps and moody bassline is soon reduced to a soft, doughy mass by the advent of off-kilter synth chords and the suave, comforting tones of Jonah's verbal musings. That said, there is something ever so slightly more sinister about this record, be it the lyrical content or the piercing, spacey synths. Unnerving or not, Jealousy and Lies, and indeed It's a Jungle Out There, both convey just how raw and decidedly true house music used to be, before the world and his wife set about bastardizing it.

Artist: Julian Jonah
Title: In Retrospect  EP
Label: Aux Rec

TracklistIt’s a Jungle Out There feat. Billie Ray Martin (Def Club Mix)Jealousy & Lies

Our Rating: 8.5/10
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