Artist: CJ Jeff – Title: Old Man In A Cloud Of Dust
Label: Kling Klong – Release Date: 30th October 2017
The fast, thorough, whole and booming kick drums that lay the foundation for the track give it a bouncy energy that belies it’s fairly mid-range 124 bpm tempo. Coupled with the sharp, piercing hats, the track has a swift bite and menace to it. A somewhat funky bassline with plenty of groove is introduced fairly promptly, soon followed by some chopped vocals with an R&B-esque sensation, too cut down to discern the meaning of and which serve more as an instrumental tool than genuine lyrics. The track feels mostly upbeat and not too heavy or of the brooding kind that is normally designated for the more mechanistic club spaces. The vocals resonate relentlessly throughout the track, save for the final section, with little breakdown time or let up; the drums are firing throughout for the most part. This big, heavy, funky groover would go well in a warm up set that’s building ominously towards something less restrained. With around two minutes to remain after the main breakdown of the track it teasingly flirts with a few melodic notes before settling down to muffled and deeper bassline, keeping the sharp hats, signposting the outro phase. Overall ‘In A Cloud Of Dust’ presents itself as a cultured, friendly, well produced tech house number, typical of its current company.
In A Cloud Of Dust (Gorge Remix)
The Gorge remix keeps the same tempo and is a similarly nagging piece. Gorge largely gets rid of the vocals so ever-present in the original for the most part with a short section of them featuring at the beginning of the remix, paying homage to the original piece. This absence of vocals could be a let up for some listeners, although others may prefer the more layered sound of the original. There is less low frequency in this remix as the original bassline is brought up to the mids but the track is far from hollow and retains the same bouncy sensation. It is perhaps more suitable for peak time sets or perhaps graveyard shifts and could even be used an afterhours number as the track generally marches on quite steadily. It is designed to be hypnotic by its repetitive nature like the original mix but in a more understated way. Overall a very strong release with the remix complimenting the original tastefully and with continuity.
This release gifts us with an additional track ‘Old Man’ that could arguably be seen as the strongest and is far from a token B-Side offering. Once again retaining the typical tech house tempo of 124, ‘Old Man’ once again disapproves the increasing consensus that tech house has become somewhat formulaic, lacking the industrial raw qualities of techno and the emotive sensations of house. This release effortlessly incorporates both of these qualities. Old Man is not dissimilar in its intentions when compared to In A Cloud Of Dust, with slightly longer breakdowns and groovy male and female vocal samples, which only serve to make the fully firing drums all the more profound when they come crashing back in. The Athens native CJ Jeff demonstrates that cutting edge tech house is far from exclusive to the UK, The Balearics and South America and is much better aligned with the authentic, high quality tech house seen today from labels such as General Surgery.
This release is cultured if not seminal. It is designed purely for club usage and is perhaps best appreciated when heard through a robust club sound system where the thickly laid out high, mid and low sections can be delivered in full force for a fulfilling sensory experience. The steady and incredibly uniform 4/4 drum beat presents itself as extremely pleasant and rhythmic in a year in which broken drum beats and tampered time signatures have been dominant.
Hugh Miller Rating: 7/10