The latest Grass Green Recordings release is of a style that has traversed from Manhattan to Manchester, from Brooklyn to Bradford - with love. For some mad reason garage, the dominant sound of the buzzy New York and New Jersey scenes, found a willing underground audience in northern England in the early ’90s. Clubs like the Hacienda and Hard Times embraced garage gurus such as Todd Terry and Tony Humphries much like they were their own. Reed & Radley were amongst that crowd, spending many nights lost to the dance floor and many paychecks lost to shrink-wrapped gems on labels like Strictly Rhythm and Easy Street. Now living in New Zealand, the Bongo Lover EP is their tribute to the NY and NJ garage sounds of that day, filtered through the styles and scenes that followed - both of a time and capable of going off like a bang now.
“Keep On” - A motto of the relentless, “Keep On” kicks things off with a crunchy four-to-the-floor beat complimented by skipping snares, hopping hats, and a deep, bubbling bass. The meat of the track is built around smooth pads and an ever-morphing rubbery synth riff which, with some jiggery-pokery of the filter, is eventually set free, sending fizzing, twisted stabs whizzing through the mix. There’s a hint of Wild Pitch about the reversed stabs, rides, and vocal refrain but the complexity of the main refrain and panned toms bring things right up to date.
“Don’t Let Me Down”- Even the most underground dance floors need a piano anthem now and again - here’s one that won’t let them down. Bright, simple chords are underpinned by a bouncing bass, hypnotic Korg organ motif, and cut-up vocal line. If that’s the ‘then,’ the ‘now’ comes direct from a Detroit basement in the form of pitched-down stabs. And it’s all enveloped by a string so warm it could be used to advertise Horlicks.
“Keep On (Shallow Taxi Club Hard Dub)” - What’s a Shallow Taxi Club without a showy driver? This Hard Dub of “Keep On” is an uncompromising and aggressive take from the self-pronounced producer-not-DJ. It’s verging on Mr G-style techno but retains enough swing and bounce to appeal to peak-time, bigger room garage floors.
Inland Knights - “All cuts are strong. Good stuff!”
Paolo Rocco (Real Tone / Klasse) - “Dope music!”
Graeme Park - “Groovy, baby.”
Giom - “Nicely done!”
Severino (Horse Meat Disco) - “Pretty cool stuff.”
Spettro - “‘Keep On’ is simply amazing. Full support.”
Nick Holder (DNH Records) - “This is fire!”
Tyler Stadius - “Feeling all three. Great timeless sound.”
Cyclist (Homebreakin / Punchout!) - “Quality stuff!”
Joey Silvero (Distant People) - “This grabbed me as soon as the groove hit, There’s a really infectious feel to this … made me smile right away.”
Sebastian Davidson (Seamless / Night Drive) - “Classic and raw!”
Phonatics (Housesession Records) - “This is sex house!”
Craig Stewart (DCSTrax / Montana & Stewart) - “I’m feeling the original of ‘Keep On’ … those synth stabs are hot!”
Bruce Tantum (Time Out NY / Resident Advisor) - “Three winners! All right up my alley … fantastic, thumping-yet-deep house all around.”
Michael Fossati (Spirit of House) - “Gorgeous old skool inspired late night gem guaranteed to put a spell on you.”
Black Mighty Wax (Irma Records) - “Reed & Radley show great love for those good ol’ days … house music all night long!”