V.A. - First Things First EP (Outplay)

I seem to get pickier by the year when it comes to music. It might just be sleep deprivation that's turning me into a grumpy bugger, or the fact that I'm closer to 40 than to 30 these days and have seen all of house music's permutations and combinations come and go. Mind you, I still spend way too much time scanning the pre-sale and 'just in' sections of all the large online purveyors of the black stuff and I still spend a most unhealthy chunk of my meagre income on vinyl each month, but those magical moments when I get truly excited about a new artist or label are few and far between these days.

And then along comes Dutch imprint Outplay with their first forays into the wonderful world of vinyl with a V.A. that reminds me why I love this music so much, restoring the cosmic equilibrium once again. Outplay's been active in the digital realm for a while but as I don't really know what goes on in there (lots of ones and zeros yea?), so I'm not sure what caused label bosses Daniel Leseman and Junktion to clear out their savings accounts but I sure am glad they did. 

It's been a while since I've had such a hard time picking a favourite track too: they're all boss and would have been lead attractions on their own. Let's start on the A, which kicks off with Stuff Your Dad liked by Fouk (a new moniker for Leseman and Junktion's collabs in the studio). I highly doubt my dad would give this a spin on a lazy sundayafternoon, but if it's deep, dreamy beatdown stylings you're after, you'll lap this number up. Warm chord progressions and Max Graef-style sloppy claps with loads of echo and delay twirl and build until a spoken vocal comes in (lifted from a raunchy vintage Dutch porno).

After this glorious start Fouk up the jack factor a little on Cat Lady, a swinging, warm chugger with uplifting piano melodies and some clever James Brown sampling. It's the kind of stuff any discerning A&R dude should sign in a heartbeat. Keep On Moving on the flip sees Daniel Leseman go solo, showcasing a real knack for stringing together a refined groove. Warm pads and chords set the atmosphere, while a crisp rimshot pushes things along. There's been much debate on what 'deep house' actually is, but in my book, this is what Larry Heard had in mind when he started making machine soul music. Junktion rounds things off brilliantly with Tuesdays, a dark, driving beast of a tune with mad low end. 

Outplay's maiden voyage on vinyl couldn't have been better if they tried. Limited to 300 copies and no digital release planned, which should please the wax fiends among you. The wax also sounds really good, cutting engineer did a splendid job here. This will be in the very front of the bag for a long long time, can't wait to see what other tricks these chaps have up their sleeves. 

Get one now over at Decks or wait for Juno and co to receive their stash.