v/a: HOA010 + HOA011 (HAUS of ALTR, 2020)

July 12, 2020 at 11:01 am | Posted in Reviews | Leave a comment

v/a: HOA010

This past Juneteenth, New York label HAUS of ALTR released a massive compilation focusing on “the future of Black electronic music”. The proceeds for HOA010 are split between three organizations (For The Gworls, Afrotectopia, Afrorack) and the artists themselves. This one looks huge just glancing at the track listing — 27 tracks, and lots of artists who have been blowing up the club world lately, including many artists who have been on Towhead RecordingsNew York Dance Music comps. AceMo and MoMA Ready are both well represented, delivering ecstatic diva rave as well as fun, bashy breaks with an Aaliyah sample cruising in the middle. L.I.E.S. alumni Bookworms delivers crunchy, polyrhythmic breaks with the distorted goodness of “Dehydration”. DJ SWISHA’s giddy “New Luv” is like juke and happy hardcore meeting on the dancefloor and unexpectedly falling in love with each other. James Bangura (recently on Vanity Press) impresses with his breaky, shifty “Same, But Different”. Continuing her victory lap from her groundbreaking album last year, Loraine James gets in reflective mode with “Now”, which is filled with refracted trap beats and scattered R&B vocals. Russell E.L. Butler proclaims “You Think We Ain’t Have To Go This Hard, But We Really Do”, but their skittering drum’n’bass isn’t so much hard as persistent, scrambling forth in a constant search for justice, acceptance, clarity, answers, meaning, really a great number of things. Speaker Music’s “The Stamp of Color” features a powerful speech by Salenta, telling you how every Black person you see walking down the street is a miracle. Plenty of lesser-knowns impress as well. Amal’s “Pyschopass” mixes interstellar melodies with hard, crushed breakbeats, sort of approximating intelligent jungle with much more of an emphasis on feeling than scientific calculation. Escaflowne’s “The Blenda” is an effervescent house track with its waving hands pointed straight at the sky at all times. BEARCAT’s “Emergency” shows that there’s other ways to construct a powerful house groove, with a constant whooshing, whirring sound and percussion which sounds like shakers, hand drums, and clinking dinner glasses. “Dreamscape” by DONIS is built on a classic house foundation, but a slightly more complex twist to the beat, and a bit of Detroit cityscape synth. Max Watts’ “Hesitancy” is a new mutation of the speaker-demolishing freight train techno which has been fueling Brooklyn raves since the dawn of humanity. Then at the end, TAH’s “Breathe” is a potent shot of high-octane hybrid club music for getting down in a factory.

v/a: HOA11

I got around to buying HOA010 on the most recent Bandcamp Friday at the beginning of this month (hopefully they’ll do more of these?) and as soon as I did I noticed that the label had also snuck out HOA11, so naturally I had to grab that one too. Much of the same cast reappears, starting with a burning jungle reflection from AceMo. Amal’s “Go!” is a heady space journey which tactfully deploys hard, banging beats, NRG-spiked breaks, and rocket power. AshTreJinkins’ “Not My Problem” also goes super hard, with gabber-y beats and frantic arpeggios crumbling into each other. DJ Autopay’s “More Femme, More Masc (It’s Pride Black Pride Mix)” is an anthemic 2020 club update of Nice & Smooth’s “Sometimes I Rhyme Slow”, with a big emphasis on its all-important interpolation of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”. Escaflowne provides another highlight, with the tumbling hybrid jungle of “My Mind”. Huey Mnemonic’s “Respect My House (I-94 Mix)” is straight up classic-sounding acid house, with its mix title nodding to the highway connecting Detroit and Chicago (a road which happens to be right by my house). Other gems include MoMA Ready’s defiant “The High Cost of Living”, the jacking disco loops of Max Watts’ “Flowin”, trippy tunnel techno from James Bangura, and so much more.

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