Raw / Darren Clark - Jazz EP (Them On The Hill)

The Them On The Hill collective was founded in Sheffield circa 1993 by a group of talented young DJs and party people to put on top notch club nights and warehouse jams in the UK’s ‘rave’ heyday. These parties were renowned and respected as events where the deepest and freshest tunes from Chicago, New York, and Detroit (and music influenced by those cities) could be heard. In 2010, inspired by those past hedonistic days and the sounds that accompanied them, Them On The Hill transformed into a music label focusing on releases and projects from the collective’s members.

The sixth release from Them On The Hill spotlights two producers and is unified by a jazzier deep house sound. It is, after all, the Jazz EP. Included within:

Raw - “Digital Jazz Fix
Better known as DJ Raw (he has stepped away from the decks and dropped the ‘DJ’ part), Raw is a longtime staple of Sheffield’s dance music scene, starting his career on local community radio playing a mix of UK and US house in the 80s. In 1997 Raw collaborated with Callum Wordsworth as Digital Boogie, releasing tunes for DIY Discs, Funknose, and Candy Records. Also, Raw worked with fellow Sheffield DJ/producer Groove Assassin as Vibes Inc., contributing seminal tunes for labels like Glasgow Underground, 4th Floor, Transport, and Black Vinyl Records. For Them On The Hill, Raw presents “Digital Jazz Fix,” a flowing track with intricate rhythms and percussion, swinging keys, and a few well-placed vocal drops. The track definitely harks back to a different time, and would probably not sound out of place at one of the collective’s mid-90’s warehouse parties. In 1988, Raw toured New Zealand with another Sheffield DJ, Tempo, and his magical time on the island inspired the accompanying NZ Dub Mix. It’s a warmer, more liquid take that grooves and moves, suitable for some proper summertime action.

Darren Clark - “Free Form
Continuing with the New Zealand inspiration, Them On The Hill snags Auckland resident Darren Clark for the the next track, the swirling, deep house treasure that is “Free Form.” Darren started out on saxophone, playing in a funk-reggae band in his formative years, but quickly caught the house music bug after experiencing the acclaimed Mum’s The Word club night in Auckland. Darren’s knowledge of music, including classic funk, disco, and rock, influences a deep, perceptive sound in his own writing and production. His debut Darren Clark Project EP, released by Lou Gorbea’s Omi Tutu Productions, garnered attention from the likes of Ron Trent, DJ Gregory, and Jay Tripwire. Darren’s cut “Free Form” was inspired by the spirit of Pharaoh Sanders and soulful jazz in general, leading to a building, growling deep house track with loads of layers and evocative sonic elements. The cut uses a bit of analog technology to add warmth, and the pronounced, steady bass line caresses like a hypnotic hug. It’s gorgeous stuff, and certain to be a highlight of after-hours sets the world over.

Mark Farina - “I dig this.”
Roy Davis Jr. - “I’m digging the dub!”
Marques Wyatt - “Dope!”
Robert Owens - “Love it.”
Abicah Soul - “Groovy EP. Support guaranteed!”
Severino (Horse Meat Disco) - “Great stuff here. ‘Free Form’ is dope.”
Murray Richardson (Rebel Waltz) - “Yes! This is the sound.”
Lars Behrenroth (Deeper Shades Of House) - “Nice nineties styles! I’m diggin’ the jazzy shuffle.”
Ant Plate (Rhythm Plate / YSE) - “Chunky, funky, raw groove lockers.”
Jevne (OneThirty Recordings) - “NZ dub has a nice bump to it! Will play.”
DJ Phil T (DJ Times Magazine) - “Wow …. deep, cool, and funky.”
Gareth Morgan (Blues & Soul Magazine) - “This is so simple, yet so catchy. The piano break is unexpected and adds to the strength of this release. I am feeling this track massively.”
Michael Fossati (Spirit Of House) - “‘Digital Jazz Fix’ is a truly brilliant jazz-inspired four-to-the-floor production.”
TJ Norris (Resident Advisor) - “Bring it on! This is not just ‘Digital Jazz Fix’ - this is the whole enchilada. Its brightly colored and funky as all get out.”
Joan Ribas (Cafe del Mar) - “Wow … superb!”
Tony D’Onghia (Radio Koper-Capodistria) - “What the world needs now is more music like this! Fabulous!”

Additional support from Mousse T., Jota Wagner, Bryan Jones, Danny Massure, Makossa & Megablast, Edground, Pedro Goya, Alex Dimitri South Soul, DJ EMan, and Blacksoul.

Available now from Juno Download and Beatport.