The former Wamdue Kid serves up some beefy, classic-style US house grooves, Luis Baro remixes
Chris Udoh has been releasing records since the mid-90s, most notably as a member of The Wamdue Kids, who had some pretty seminal tracks on Strictly Rhythm, Arcadia, Studio !K7 and Guidance.
That pedigree is immediately evident as the first few bars of Vision Spent begin to build. This is PROPER house music: no fads or fashions, just straight-up, heads-down grooves. The EP is rich in depth, as various musical elements and vocals meander in and out with just enough prominence to keep things interesting, without ever encroaching enough to detract from the main warm, infectious groove. Udoh will occasionally flip the vibe for short sections, but almost as soon as you’ve had time to compute what’s happened, everything drops away and we’re back to that groove again. That's something producers often lose sight of: you don’t need to throw the kitchen sink at everything, sometimes you just need to get a groove going and sit on it like James Brown!
The second track, Monster Groove, has the most dancefloor potential: it’s both chunky and understated, gritty but sophisticated, one of those tracks that does that beautiful thing of sounding simple when in fact there’s a whole lot going on. Remix duties – it's Monster Groove, not Vision Spent, that gets the remix treatment – fall to Luis Baro, who jacks up the drums and pushes a repetitive, rave -style synth up front and centre. His mixes are a stark contrast to the less conspicuous original, but the punchier drums and prominent synth hook will help boost the tracks' appeal to the more main room, peak-time jocks.
Aficionados of US house should mos def check the originals here, and while the remixes go with a more bumping sound, they’re still decent, useable tracks that add another dimension and a bit more scope to the release. All in all, one of the best EPs I’ve heard in a while.
Words: Iain Taylor
Release date: Out now (Bandcamp) / 19 March (general release)
Review Score: 9