The usually prolific Alain Ho, AKA DJ Yellow, has been relatively quiet of late. In fact, this is the Parisian veteran's first release since 2015. It finds him in fine form, delivering a loose and breezy, Africanism style cover version of Louie Vega and Marc Anthony's 1991 house hit "Ride On The Rhythm". It has a similar aesthetic - in some respects at least - to Soul Central's cover of the similarly peerless "Strings of Life", albeit with a dash of DJ Gregory's "Elle" thrown in. Ian Pooley provides a solid remix, which wraps the headline-grabbing piano riff around a smoother, tech-tinged rhythm track. The slower, deeper and woozier "Paname1980" completes a fine package.
Parisian veteran DJ Yellow returns to deep house pastures with an evocative EP for Belgium's We Play House. The three original tracks here take much inspiration from the expansive electronic sweeps of progressive house, adding a shuffling deep house sensibility for contemporary dancefloors. This blend works best on the hypnotic, late night head-nodder "Je T'M", but can also be seen on the vocal opener "Night In Tranzylvania". There's also an epic ambient/spoken word excursion, "Angel Part" - which brings back memories of old Billie Ray Martin releases on Apollo - and a low-slung Russ Gabriel remake of "Night In Tranzylvania". Excellent.
DJ Yellow releases are something of a rarity these days. That reason gives this release a special feel instantly but in actual fact, it's a special one in its own right that begs the simple question - why don't we see more of his productions out there anymore? "No Way You Can Sleep" proves in one crisp swoop that he has still got what it takes by showcasing three original tracks of deep, soulful house with a purely irresistible grooves.
Alain Ho is a man who has seen genres grow and evolve around him over the years. During the 80s he played a large part within the French hip hop scene before becoming an instrumental figure within French house music.
Renowned for being forward thinking and clearly still influential today, we can only hope that this will be the first in a string of new productions from the Frenchman.
Opening with the title track, the release is off to an emphatic start. Effortlessly blending deep, funky and tech house into just over seven and a half minutes, the track keeps both a deep and driving vibe courtesy of a relentless groove and also a lighter, funkier side through some intricate percussion techniques. "I Know What You Need" maintains much of the energy of its predecessor but delves in darker territory with barely audible, slow male vocals and a pulsating bassline. "Reflection on the Self" is much more playful. Groovy throughout and with swirling synths, the track takes on a warm feel that is further accentuated by the hushed, French vocal.
What makes this such a strong release is DJ Yellow's clever combination of the deep and the funky. These can be difficult disciplines to merge at times but he manages it throughout and whilst always keeping the focus very much on the dancefloor. Well done Plastic City for bringing DJ Yellow back once again - long may he stay.