2016 Dec 03     
2 Bit Thugs

The EP is the very first release from Swiss producer Aalbou

For nearly three years now, the evil pushers of Kenny Ground's Old School Department have been lurking in darkened corners of record shops, unerringly tracking down poor unfortunate souls with a deep-rooted addiction to traditional US-style house and garage, and consistently supplying them with what's known on the street as "the good shit".

For their latest re-up they've recruited the talents of a brand new producer called Albou, but while he may be a new name to the scene, the three tracks here show he's definitely not wet behind the ears. Don't Sleep, Allright [sic] gets the ball rolling, opening with tuff-but-muted kicks, hi-hats and a familiar-sounding "okay… all right" spoken vocal, then building with understated keys, a simple throbbing bassline and lingering pads augmented by rap vocal snips, the overall effect being not unlike a Hayden André production from the early 90s given a light hip-house topcoat.

The deep garage theme continues with No Other, whose warping pads are not a little reminiscent of the early work of one Mr K Chandler, and which sports some fine wailing sax action. Completing the EP is Snoopac, a more straight-up deep/tech house cut with subtle Negro-esque disco flourishes and sampled speech from some old soul dude discussing recording practices of yore ("we'd be in the studio, when they finished that song, he wouldn't even listen to it, it was right on to the next beat").

Old School Department can always be relied on to come up with the goods, but on this evidence they've uncovered an uncommon talent in Aalbou even by their standards. Will we never get this monkey off our backs?

Words: Russell Deeks

Release date: 28 November


Review Score: 9




Tags: Old School Department, Aalbou, deep house, garage, deep garage