More faces in the sea of considerable talent that makes up Vancouver’s (and the North American West Coast in general) underground dance scene, promoter and DJ Aleem Jamal-Kabani and producer U-Tern team up here for one hell of an ecstatic house stormer. A well-known DJ, the recently-relocated-to-Toronto AJK runs a series of successful nights in Vancouver called Midnight City and Yours Truly – playing host to Todd Edwards and Metro Area, among others – while the similarly relocated (to L.A.) U-Tern has done a number of prominent remixes recently, including Holy Ghost! and Aeroplane.
Their collaboration ‘Side Ways’ sounds like the natural result of a DJ enamored with classic house and a producer known for neo-disco sounds: the drums snap and flex with an elasticity borrowed from the tracked-on-rails canned bliss of the latter but the freedom of the former. Handclaps sizzle and burst, rimshots echo and vibrate, and the duo overload the rigid rhythm with all sorts of accents and fills, building a precarious structure in the process. It’s those terse but joyous chord stabs that finally topple it all over, however: as the track steamrolls into swooning synth territory, the chords seem to carve their own path right through the track, swelling and bursting with an unintelligible but no less infectious exuberance that sends the track spiraling into a limping outro. It’s completely addictive, if only to try and fully grasp the stunning bouquet of percussion they manage to load into this track – ‘Side Ways’ seems convinced and consumed by its own contagious rhythm, an unabashed celebration we don’t hear very often in a scene currently preoccupied with deep house signifiers and techno trench-digging.
DOWNLOAD: U-Tern & AJK – Side Ways