FACT Magazine’s Tom Lea recently made the point in his review of Jam City’s Classical Curves that the “popular misconception amongst techno producers right now is that releasing music on a hand-stamped white label is somehow taking the form back to basics… but its current position at the height of techno fashion seems to miss the point – the best techno has always been synonymous with imagery”.
There’s no shame in admitting that a release might catch your eye for the simple reason that curiosity was piqued by the unique name, or it houses a remix from a certain producer. Indeed, for the elder record buyers amongst us, stumbling upon an unknown pleasure via this tactic was one of the real highlights of a crate digging session. In the case of Moogie from Rushhour it is both of the above that lead to this review. With such a distinctive name housing a remix from Alden Tyrell, immediate thoughts were this was a slice of forgotten electro from the 80s that was inspiration for the Amsterdam shop and label of the same name. The sort of record that labels such as Clone and Crème Organisation seem particularly brilliant in discovering and releasing.
Naturally – as with so many blind assumptions in music – that couldn’t be farther from the truth! Rushhour are in fact two disco loving graffiti artists from St Petersburg called Zool & Vir who may well take their name from the aforementioned Dutch emporium of musical greatness, or indeed in honour of the cinematic tour de force starring Messrs Chan and Tucker. Regardless, Moogie is a startling debut release for the duo, presenting a sound rich in analogue warmth, occupying that crowded space between contemporary disco and house productions but with enough personality and verve to separate it from the chaff.
Everything about the title track impresses, a production filled with thrilling key stabs and moog flourishes, working through different movements to a taut backdrop of throwback geetar funk and hand clap lead percussion. Clone don Alden Tyrell seems a perfect fit to remix the track – indeed he even mastered the whole EP – and he expertly twists “Moogie” filling it with waves of synth euphoria that grab you from take off.
It’s a mark of Rushhour’s auspicious talent that their productions do not cower in the shadows of Tyrell’s towering presence, with the innate confidence and quirkiness demonstrated on the opening track carried throughout. “Ultradancin’” seems to slip between glacial electroboogie, vintage Metro Area and Legowelt style synth freakouts with nonchalant ease, whilst “Cosmico” settles into an almost haunting melodic refrain before mutating into an ascendant futuristic Detroit groove filled with glisten and sheen.
In an internet-centric climate where instant music knowledge is but a Discogs check away it’s all too rare for an unknown record to grab you so hard, but it’s truly an exhilarating feeling when it happens.
All the latest news, reviews and features from Juno Plus straight into your inbox