It's the first release from Del Torro's 'Culture Detectives' project
Headed up by Cuban producer and Tony Humphries protege Wheeler Del Torro, the Culture Detectives is a new "historical art experiment" that sees a crew of house producers of different ages and backgrounds bringing 19th Century poems written by former slaves to musical life, and this is the first release, which is based on a poem written by freed slave Juan Francisco Manzano in 1840.
As if to underline the central importance of the words, it's the Acapella that's up first – and powerful, harrowing stuff it is too (sample verses include "They're only negroes, too/they count not here" and "believe me few grew old/live is cheap, but sugar, sir, is gold"). Then, once you've pondered man's inhumanity to man for a while, there are two club-friendly mixes to choose from, coming from Italy's Paul Adam and San Francisco veteran David Harness. The former's rub is the kind of deep, rolling soulful house groover that Miami pool parties were built for, jazzy and Latin-leaning in the percussion department and featuring some scorching Hammond action on the final straight, but it's the darker, techier throb of the David Harness Remix that's probably likely to have broader appeal in the current musical climate.
Both mixes are of undeniably high quality, though, and with the vocal instantly lifting it above a thousand limp love songs, this is pretty much unmissable.
Words: Russell Deeks
Release date: 29 February
Review Score: 9