Review: Brett Johnson was always one of the most innovative house producers and this release for the re-launched Classic shows that he hasn't lost his signature sound. On the OG Demo mix of "Mr Johnson's Talk'n Now", he lays down a gritty, stripped back house groove, replete with lo fi blips and bursts of noise that accompany wired, weird vocal samples. The 'Luke's Video Games Rework' is just as off-beat, with the vocals deeper in the mix and a furious stab taking centre stage, while the 'BJ Revamp' remix swings back towards Johnson's wild, stripped back sound. Only on "Give It To Them" does he opt for a more conventional approach, with a disco stab riding the relentlessly jacking groove.
You Got Me Going Crazy (Berlin dub) - (7:23) 126 BPM
You Got Me Going Crazy - (7:07) 126 BPM
You Got Me Going Crazy (Acapella) - (0:52) 116 BPM
Review: By now Holic Trax is one of the most assured house labels of the day. As such it makes sense that they turn to another well regarded house producer in Brett Johnson for their next EP. Johnson is an American who has excelled at every dance style over the years. With a classical bent to his tunes, he likes bump and groove and always serves up no nonsense jams on labels like Classic, Housewax and Visionquest. Here he excels with three new tracks as well as one collaboration with tech house legend CPEN. Sumptuous "Slow Tide" is the slick opener and is the sort of soulful, expertly produced jam only a veteran could come up with. Smooth synths have a real sense of feeling, skipping drums bring the groove and a rich bassline recalls the work of Chi town great, Boo Williams. The delicious "Music" is then more direct and physical, with scratchy perc and epic drums punching out a busy pattern. Glass tinkles and smeared pads soften the edges of this deep but jacking track The standout "You Got Me Going Crazy (Berlin Dub)" then finds Brett teaming up with cult figure CPEN to excellent effect. It is a trippy and freaky late night tech cut with slinky lines, spooky vocals and real electronic funk in its bones. Sure to set ?floors on fire, it gets followed up by the joyous house skip, modern soul and bendy machine funk of "Don't Forget to Smile".
Review: Dallas producer Brett Johnson's output may have slowed down in the past few years, but this release for Get Physical shows that he hasn't lost his ability to craft jacking, stripped back house. "Do It Like This" is led by a powerful, pumping bass and features dissected vocal drops, before leading into a deranged, ravey breakdown. "Amnesia" shows another side to his production approach; a spaced out, beatsy affair, its eerie synth lines float into the ether like plumes of gray smoke. Best of all though is "Still Charged". It starts with a druggy vocal that asks the author about being 'back in the game' and whether still feels 'charged'? By way of supporting a positive response, Johnson delivers a jerky, insistent rhythm that never stops jacking.
Review: Given his history of creating tough, Chicago-influenced boompty and jackin' tech-house, it's interesting to see Brett Johnson popping up on Visionquest. Typically, there's a lot more going on in the 'instant energy' stakes than you'd find in your average Visionquest release. "Move Power" does include some pleasant chords and melodies (not to mention a strange, woozy vocal), but they largely play second fiddle to a tough, loose analogue groove and fuzzy bass pulses. This gets more room to breathe on the excellent, stab-heavy Dub. Best of all, though, is bonus cut "Furtherer", which sounds much more like the balls-out Brett Johnson of old.