Reunited in the SF Bay Area three years ago, Gavin and Robbie have produced a new album under the Hardkiss name that stands tall in the often repetitive world of electronic dance music. They’re using the occasion to relaunch their Hardkiss Music label in honor of their sorely missed brother, Scott. The 1991 title alludes to the year the collective was formed, leading to their infamous escapades during the early rave days as producers, promoters, label heads, and world-class DJs.
Bringing things back up to speed, Gavin and Robbie have created compelling contemporary beat-based songs as fitting for club speakers as they are for home audio systems. Noticeably, a strong emphasis was placed on sound design, intricate synth work, and vocal processing. Most of the songs feature the vocals of Robbie Hardkiss with additional vocals coming from Austin’s Tameca Jones and new York rapper turned singer, Scavonne.
Exercising the duo’s penchant for electro funk boogie with an uplifting pop sensibility, “Don’t Worry,” “Flowers Blooming / Glow of Love,” and the Hardkiss Brothers Mix of “Revolution” are some of the album’s highlights. “Revolution” is a call for change with a peaceful urgency, pairing sunny vocal chants and bells with an electric bass groove with staccato guitar movement. A darker ‘80s tinge takes shape on “Don’t Worry” with tense, anxious synths and convincing lyrics that talk the listener out of any such feelings. “Flowers Blooming” is a mix of exciting disco licks, big ‘90s house key stabs, and a fat bass line riff rounded off by vocals ripe with positivity.
Certainly a must have release for the digital libraries, 1991 will also be available as a limited double album vinyl for those craving it in physical form.
Danny Howells - “Still sounding superb after all these years … killer stuff.”
Tensnake - “The Hawke mix of ‘It’s Right’ is my favorite.”
Mark Farina - “Good stuff.”
Nick Warren - “Champion stuff … Hardkiss never let us down.”
Jody Wisternoff (Way Out West / Anjunadeep) - “Funky s@&t. Loving it!”
Fort Knox Five - “Hardkiss never disappoints … as funky as ever!”
Severino (HorseMeatDisco / Dalston Superstore) - “Funky and cool … great stuff.”
Kris Needs (Data Transmission) - “Great to have them back with such a strong set, showing modern production suss with knowledge of the past.”
Sleazy McQueen - “Hands up feel good jams!”
Claudio Coccoluto - “Nice … and amazing.”
Alkalino (Estimativa / Audaz Recordings) - “Cool release. ‘Don’t Worry’ is my pick.”
Phat Phil Cooper (NuNorthern Soul) - “‘Revolution’ is a BIG track.”
Sumsuch (Colour and Pitch) - “Mega-ultra-super-hot! As expected, a truly great stash of tracks here.”
Hard Ton (Gigolo / Permanent Vacation) - “I love it … pop meets the dance floor.”
Deron Delgado (Paradise / Stompy) - “Fantastic album! ‘Revolution’ has been added to my eternal playlist.”
Joey Silvero (Distant People) - “Slamming mix of styles here … I’m really into ‘Flowers Blooming.’”
Deepshizzol (MyHouse-YourHouse) - “‘Flowers Blooming / Glow of Love’ is just amazing! It blew me away. Bring on the summer!”
Bob Duskis (Six Degrees Records) - “If only more electronic music had this much heart, soul, and sense of fun.”
Al Bradley (3am Recordings) - “Boooooom! Wicked release from the brothers right here; deepness, techy edges, freaky vox - it’s all here. Top skills, Gavin and Robbie!”