It’s all too easy for nostalgia to tip into something negative. At its best it’s a celebration of the best the past has to offer while putting it into a contemporary context; at its worst it’s moaning that things aren’t as good as they used to be. Hercules & Love Affair have always been firmly in the first category. Main man Andy Butler takes classic house and disco sounds and uses them to craft dance music that has one foot in the past, the other cutting a rug on dance floors right now. It’s a well-judged and expertly executed balance.
A highlight of the new Hercules And Love Affair DJ-Kicks mix, “Release Me,” finds Hercules mastermind Andy Butler binging on a variety of retro sources in an otherwise ’90s-house focused context. Says Butler of his new track and its vougishly dispassionate singer: “It features this LA DJ called Whitney Fierce singing. Great name. She has a Bananarama thing going on with her voice. I decided to do something akin to that early ’90s mash-up thing. We pulled out old gear, early samplers, so we could get that low bit rate quality. It has that really rough sound. It’s very authentic of the period, kind of Stock Aitken Waterman production meets the Hacienda.”
In addition to the original “Release Me,” this sampler includes a beefed-up remix from Butler and Mark Pistel (formerly of Consolidated and sometime Meat Beat Manifesto collaborator). Also one will find the track “A Bit of Redemption” by Ha-ze Factory, comprised of Viennese producers Philipp Haffner and Constantin Zeileissen, who are currently working with Andy Butler on new Hercules material. This track is also exclusive to the compilation, and consists of a 90’s techno-house style that definitely falls into the Hercules retro-not-retro ethos and should give much pleasure to the DJ-types out there.
Tim Sweeney (Beats In Space) - “As always, great stuff from Hercules & Love Affair!”
Dave Taylor (Switch / Major Lazer) - “Nice!”
Graeme Park - “Well smack my ass and call me Sally! Outrageously good.”
Tom Findlay (Groove Armada) - “Ha-ze Factory’s ‘A Bit Of Redemption’ is amazing.”
The Magician (Kitsuné) - “Cool. I like it.”
Stereo 77 - “Fantastic trio of tracks! I can’t help but remember the early days of freestyle here … I love them and can’t wait to test drive the Andrew Butler & Mark Pistel remix.”
Severino (Horse Meat Disco) - “Pretty cool.”
Abicah Soul - “Rocking!”
Cosmo Vitelli - “The original of ‘Release Me’ is quite cool.”
Chrissy Murderbot - “Big big big!”
The Glimmers - “Love it.”
Brennan Green - “Sick. I’ll play this with some sprinkles.”
Mr. Spring (2 FM, Ireland) - “Back to the ’83 … I now have big hair.”