1. Intro
  2. Never Touch That Switch
  3. A34
  4. Wanna Get Wet
  5. High On Hope Street
  6. 27/5/01
  7. Serobotik
  8. Go Upstairs
  9. Basement City
  10. Elektrik Elefant
  11. Robots
  12. Take Me Home

Soul Mekanik - Eighty One

Label: RIP Records| Release Date: 6/20/2005

House music legends and brothers Danny Spencer and Kelvin Andrews, two figures with a long and storied career that stems back over fifteen years have finally completed their eagerly anticipated debut as Soul Mekanik entitled 'Eighty One'.

As one might expect, its an album that passes a nod to many influences and styles, and one that fans of their earlier EPs and remixes will also undoubtedly come to embrace. Full details of the album are available here for now, with a full review and exclusive interview with Kelvin and Danny to follow shortly.

Brothers Danny Spencer and Kelvin Andrews are house music legends. Danny produced his debut single in 1988 with his acid house classic 'Ride the Rhythm' under the name of This Ain't Chicago. By 1990 he was on Top of The Pops and the cover of Smash Hits in his cult incarnation of Candy Flip with a cover of the Beatles' 'Strawberry Fields Forever'.

Together, under the pseudonym of Sure is Pure in the early 90s, they remixed for artists such as Aretha Franklin, Sister Sledge, The Doobie Brothers, Lulu and Dave Stewart. They have also found worldwide chart success with Blueboy's 'Remember Me', have written a critically acclaimed album 'No Illicit Dancing' as Sound 5, and co-wrote 'Rock DJ' with Robbie Williams, for which they received an Ivor Novello nomination.

15 years on, Danny and Kelvin started afresh as Soul Mekanik, and have just completed their debut album 'Eighty One'.

"We just arrived at this concept. We thought wouldn't it be good if we could go back to 1981 armed with the technology from now, and then place it in that context." - Danny Spencer

Hiding behind the smokescreen that Soul Mekanik were two unknown producers from Luxembourg, their initial EPs for Rip were aimed at the dancefloor, but in time they began to get back on more familiar terrain: a place where they could experiment but still craft warm, melodic and slightly off-kilter electronic body music. It's this sense of purpose that has been fully realised, with the added assistance of the local vocal talents of Clover Ray and Charmaine, on the album.

Located somewhere between the expressive pop of Mylo, the edge of Black Strobe, the production savvy of Richard X, the then and now of Tom Tom Club and the sheer accessibility of Royksopp, 'Eighty One' is charming leftfield house at its very best. 'Never Touch That Switch' signals the brothers' intent from the off. A grinding slice of modern day electro-pop with extra R'n'B flourishes, it manages to be somehow both naïve and literate. Like the Pet Shop Boys and Playgroup sharing a studio with Annie. 'A34' is the first of many glorious side-steps: a mechanical funk jam bug out which captures the alluring sound innovations of early pioneers such as Pierre Henry and then distils it through an early '90s Warp-style futuristic filter.

"Everything was in the melting pot then. From punk to disco, early electro and hip hop: it felt like music was progressing, there was an energy." - Kelvin Andrews

Then there's the New York disco block boogie of 'Wanna Get Wet', the twitchy monochromatic '27/5/01' and the Japan sampling 'Basement City', not to mention the fractured electro of 'Robots3' or the possible Detroit homage that is 'Eletrik Elefant', it's an album that expertly captures the pair's previous lives – Kelvin's successful DJ career, Danny's fondness for messing around with electronics, their remix work as Sure Is Pure – but one that, just as importantly, doesn't feel like a history lesson. On the contrary, it feels like right now.

Pop not pop, disco not disco, house not house, 'Eighty One' heralds the emergence of a new sonic locale. Music that cocks a snook at convention and encourages a smile to return to that faded visage of dance music. Forget about keeping it real, as Shaun Ryder will no doubt attest, it's much more fun keeping it surreal.


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