What more appropriate artist could possibly be featured on the inaugural release from HAKT Recordings – the new label from dance music fixture Justin Miller, formerly of DFA Records – than DJ and producer Walter Jones? Over the course of a career that began in the late ‘80s, Jones’s impeccable sense of sound has led him to produce some of dance music’s high water marks of the last decade – while his unflagging standards of quality control have made his own catalog a restrained display of taste and talent. With critically lauded output including 2009’s “Living Without Your Love” under his belt, Jones has become known among house music fans as a source of reliably great dance music. His latest output, the fantastic Utopiano Project, has a twofold effect: it both continues Jones’s reputation as a discriminating music maker, and serves as a breathtaking launch pad for the new Miller’s HAKT label.
The songs featured here are as varied as you might hope to find on a recording that still manages to move without a hitch through its four songs. “Talk to Me” opens with a series of pulses like robo-ized choral singers emoting in tones, a clever play on the song’s title. The track lifts into a beat-driven house round of dance floor ecstasy, complete with keys that glisten and a propulsive grind at the heart of it all. “Made in Holland,” though as danceable as its predecessor, is less intense, with funk underpinnings and spaceship gurglings percolating their way through. “Hands in the Sand” uses sun-bleached AM Gold (along with samba gleanings) as a blissful foundation for singer Aily’s sweetly dreamy vocals. While the Lauer remix of the track, with its wistful synths in multi-rhythmic layers, drags the song away from the beach and places it firmly back on the dance floor.
Published: 2nd November 2012