Bank Holiday here in France, so i'm taking a freebie in the superb new Walking through the Fire EP from Smok on the superb Youth Control records, but I'm actually not going for the title track and plucking out the awesome soulful deep house of Smooth Rain.
I like music that has a soul, but 99% of the time we tend to think of soul as being represented by a big vocal performance – and it often is, but I have a particularly fondness for Instrumental music that can demonstrate that same emotional content in the same way – which is why I guess Smooth Rain immediately jumped out for me.
A busy slo-mo with soft percussive fills push along a deep bubbling 2 key bass line, coupled with classic filtered house stabs and a heavily delayed arppegiated synth roll. It sounds like a well trodden path, and it is, but that's why it's so difficult to pull it off in a way that can captivate and hold your attention.
In a lot of ways the track reminds me of material by artists such as Love from San Francisco, Djaimin and Wamdue Kids/Project. It's the kind of material that would be in perfect company on early 90's UK labels like Junior Boys Own and Paper Recordings.
I guess the point i'm making is even though it's familiar territory it's familiar for a very good reason, because it's just a great take on true deep house that I personally love.
Having said that the rest of the EP, as usual, is also incredibly strong, "Walking Through the Fire" is the main track, a vocal slice of the current bass heavy UK sound featuring Anuka, think Dusky, Disclosure and such, a big catchy chorus and a driving bass line.
The Disco Despair remix is also a fantastic take on it, all foot tapping uplifting pop house nu-disco that takes the original and brings in softer melodies and guitar and synth licks that sit around the fingered bass perfectly (and check out that fleetwood mac style breakdown post chorus. Lovely!). The EP is rounded out with the more heavy handed "Sompoe" post trap style remix and the big club friendly AMPR remix.
check it out