Artist: King Unique
Title: Yuhkoh
Label: Curfew Records
By: Devon Shaw | 21 December 2007
  • A: Original Mix
  • B: Pitch & Hold Mix

King Unique "Yuhkoh"

Out Now on Curfew Records

A year contains varied mileage for artists. Some catapult from complete underground unknowns to the forefront of the mainstream, others disappear into the abyss, never to be found again. Yet more will re-emerge bigger and bolder than before, and the unfortunate few will completely miss the mark. In the case of Matthew Roberts and Matt Thomas, the collective known over the last decade as King Unique have pulled off the unexpected: A completely divergent path, leading to new ground that is just as good yet noticeably different than their preceding work since their last major bout in the studio.

That path is 'Yohkoh,' a surprisingly house-friendly release befitting a set opener rather than peak-time fortissimo. Kicking off this release is the redundantly-titled 'King Unique Original Mix,' a dubby, bass-laden slow burner that gradually builds to reveal uncharacteristic headspace, arpeggiated melodies and a dash of syncopated transitions. The track made an early appearance in Tiesto's 'In Search of Sunrise 6' release party, and later found support with Jody Wisternoff. The implied audience sheds appropriate light on the track's style, which comes off quite friendly to progressive faithful.

On the flip comes the 'Pitch & Hold' mix, which attacks immediately with a subdued growl of minimalist, gritty bass. The main track's melody rises from the filth alongside the zip and dash of stabs, but on the whole lacks the expressiveness and structure of its original counterpart. DJs seeking dark and dirty corners to direct their crowds in will delight in its bite, but application is limited and so is the longevity of this mix.

'Yohkoh' is not the molten, dirty house we have come to expect from the King Unique brand name. This is the same pair that delivered the raw grit of 'To The Left,' the floor-storming remixes of Chable & Bonicci's 'Ride' and Infusion's 'Girls Can Be Cruel,' and the funky reinterpretation of Suicide Sports Club's 'I Don't Know.' The meat is what brings the masses, and here we have been completely blindsided by well-executed finesse. Many will appreciate the fresh perspective, though it will be a left hook to DJs accustomed to the traditionally signature sound King Unique has become so renowned for over the years. Unfortunately it fails to rise above its class and into something truly fresh. As an exploration and not a reinvention, 'Yuhkoh' succeeds in fine style, and exposes the duo to new fronts and new fans alike.

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