Following on from two various artist 12”s that featured the likes of Rüf Dug and Adam Strömstedt, the latest release on Banoffee Pies Records welcomes unsung 90s house champion Mark Nicholas to the fold, presenting material unearthed from his archive of unreleased gems. We had originally intended to ask Nicholas for one track to appear on our various artist series of 12”s, and instead wound up with an album’s worth of material to impart.
Nicholas’ own Ringrose label first rose to the surface back in 1998, and the highly sought-after Low End Theory Pt. 1 12” amassed something of a cult following amongst eager heads over the years. Intrigued by the refined analog grooves he had left behind, we were no exception, and after digging around his back catalogue on Discogs, we found him perfect for the off-kilter, soul-enriched and sample heavy sound our label and parties stand for.
After requesting tracks from Mark we ended up with a wide selection from Nicholas to sift through and quickly reached the conclusion the music was best represented as a complete body of work. While it took time to come up with the perfect selection, we feel this album best represents the diversity and skill Nicholas has at his fingertips, and demonstrates an art often forgotten today. The ability to keep colour and personality in music a refrain from the simplicities of a pigeon holed sound.
The live, jammed out feel is equally matched by experimental ideas, perhaps best manifested on uptempo swinger “This Jazz”, but still a direct understanding of groove drives the album forwards at all times. The energy levels ramp up to the techno pulse of “Ginger Giraf” at times, while elsewhere a sweet and serene mood calms the pace down on “Old Sole”, but the finish on the music is consistently organic and hand-played, holding everything together naturally whatever the tempo.
The energy and sheer musicality that spills out of the ten tracks selected for this album is hard to resist, shedding a much-deserved light on jazzed-out house music that came dangerously close to never seeing the light of day.
Published: 12th October 2016