Quentin Harris – No Politics / Mr. V – Welcome Home
(Pony Canyon / Defected)

Two of the hottest names in the deep house scene today just released their full length album.
Mr. V started as the protégé of Louie Vega at the Masters at Work studio’s. Nowadays his own productions and remixes are widely appreciated and he runs the label Sole Channel Music together with Alix Alvarez.
Quentin Harris was already a promising name in 2005 and before. In 2006 he remains delivering tons of remixes and a lot of his own productions. Almost all of them quality deep house with often a techy feel, like his 2006 club hit ‘Let’s be young’.

The album title ‘No Politics’ reflects Quentin’s view that there shouldn’t be any politics involved in the creation of music. “Music is all relative and that’s basically the idea that I’m going for.” Mr. V clearly has another opinion on this case. The track ‘Make Peace’ has politics written all over it with lyrics about the situation of the world today, the war in Iraq and the war against terror. Apart from that ‘No Politics’ has an overall positive message in the music while ‘Welcome Home’ brings further only superficial lyrics like: ‘let’s come have some fun now’, ‘shake your body’ and ‘jus dance baby’.
Of course these are not the criteria to judge these albums and certainly not a house album. Like Mr. Fingers told us back in the days ‘House is a feeling’.

On ‘No Politics’ there’s a nice balance between uplifting vocal songs and more tech sounded instrumental productions. A nice cover of After 7’s ‘Can’t stop’, collaborations with Byron Stingily, Monique Bingham, Lavonz a.o. are guarantees for good vocal hooks. On the tech side we find ‘Let’s be young’ which proved itself already and besides that i.e. his new single ‘Haunted’ and b-side ‘House’ which both are peak hour records. Almost every track on the album is a quality deep house track as we are used to from his 12 inch releases. The sound is very coherent yet there are differences enough to keep it interesting. A true winner all the same.

Mr. V is often recognized by his kinda lazy style of rapping on his productions. With his monotone style of rapping, almost talking, it is: you love it or you hate it. But even a lover could get bored listening to it a whole full length.
Welcome Home starts of with some r&b / hip-hop gems. House producers making hip-hop beats in most cases are not a success. This counts for Mr. V as well, almost the complete first half of the album sounds a bit uninspired or maybe we should say untalented. ‘It’s broke’ is slightly an exception to that, but one can hear Mr. V is no primary broken-beat producer as well. The second half contains only house productions. A few known already and a couple of new tracks like Make Peace, Put your drink down and Mr. Bongo. Now in this style of producing Mr. V is in his element. Lots of jazz influences to relax on and great rhythms to bounce to.
As a complete album ‘Welcome Home’ doesn’t stand out because of the weak first half, but the second half offers decent deep house flavors to shake your body.
So are politics good or bad for house music? No Politics seems a lot better.

Release date: October 4th 2006 (Japan) / November 9th 2006
Rating: 8.0 / 7.0

Dennis Ferrer – The world as I see it
(Defected / King Street)

Dennis Ferrer has put together 11 of his productions and released his debut album. Some already saw the light as a 12” release as for the first track ‘Church Lady’. A gospel style track which isn’t a gospel after all, both lyrically and musically not. Where most gospel tracks have an organ solo and screaming and shouting vocals, Dennis Ferrer only uses short organ sounds and the vocals of Danil Wright are in a low key.
That’s one of the secrets of Dennis’ production style, he knows where to reduce and where to delete elements. None of the tracks are overloaded with sounds or layers. Each and every kick, bass, hi-hat or sigh is at its right spot and has been put there for good reason.
Like the strings in ‘How do I let go’ are a bit in the background but do add a lot emotion to the song. ‘Son of raw’ is like the definition of house, a few chords are enough to create a huge effect on the dance floor.
Each track has its own element to stand out, like the deep sub-bass of ‘Underground is my home’, the funky vocals of ‘Change the world’ or the old-school keys in P 2 DA J.
‘Destination’ closes the album with a superb blend of latin piano and tango drama. Sort of post-latin house you could call it.

Release Date: November 14th 2006
Rating: 9.5

DJ Spinna – 'Intergalactic Soul' (Papa)

After the first snippet of Spinna’s new album Outta Time back in December 2004 it has been a long time waiting for the full length to arrive. 'Intergalactic Soul' is here now and we definitely need to take a closer look to it. The first two tracks are hip-hop productions featuring Alphonso Greer and Phonte. Where’s your love, Outta time and Back 2 U are to follow and these are up-tempo soul tracks. Back 2 U features Selan on vocals, the same man who did a great contribution to Spinna’s previous album 'Here to there' as well. 'Intergalactic Soul' is in fact a great collaboration between Spinna and lots of big names in Nu-Soul and Deep house. Not only guest vocalists but often the keys and other instruments are done by guest musicians. Spinna is mainly the man of the beats as we know him and of course the end-mixing. And that is just what makes this album a coherent wholeness. Throughout the complete album there is this unique Spinna sound which glues everything together as a beautiful collage.
As we are at one third of the album Spinna takes the tempo back with some smooth soul songs featuring Stephanie Mckay, Lizz Fields and Eric Roberson (a.k.a. Erro know of his club hit Change for me). With We can change this world Spinna definitely enters the house section of the 'Intergalactic Soul'. In remixes we’ve heard him do this already many times, but with his own productions he has kept it to hip-hop mainly. Show us how to fly features Christian Ulrich on vocals which is the singer/drummer from Tortured Soul, they were featured on Spinna’s club hit Rock as well. Living my life and Bye bye bye brings the album to a boiling end. The beats are really crispy as well as the whole production style of 'Intergalactic Soul'. It has a fresh sound and has enough surprises and hidden pearls in it to keep you listening.

Release Date: July 29th 2006
Rating: 8.5

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