Artist: Monkz
Title: Nu Bluez
Label: Alternative Route
By: Nick Bower | 13 April 2004
  • A: Original Mix
  • B: Shootie's Pumpa Mix

Monkz "Nu Bluez"

Out Now on Alternative Route

Monks. They wear habits and lead a strict and disciplined life. Their main contribution to music to date, (although admittedly they've been at it a fair few years), are Gregorian chants. Thankfully, we now also have 'Monkz', who have a lot more to offer us in the way of musical diversity (and they probably hold a bit more street cred amongst them too).

A trio of Hungarian musicians/DJs, the Monkz collective are formed of studio engineer Shootie, percussionist and general funk-head Gulu and talented DJ, Supacurtis. Forming a solid working relationship whilst all three working as resident DJs at Hungary's 'Pacha' club, of which Supacurtis is Director, the boys started seriously producing their own material during mid-2002. Amazingly the Monkz seemed to drop on their feet with their very first track - 'By Your Side' - with this being picked up for inclusion on the 'Pacha Winter Sessions' compilation at the back end of 2002. Having sparked the attention of both DJs and the record buying public, the Monkz fine production on subsequent track, 'By Your Side', let to even greater success with further releases on the Plastic Fantastic label; 'Canga Urania' in late 2003, 'Bass 'n' Shit'/''Soapless Soap' in early 2004.

Fast forward to April 2004 and 'Nu Bluez', hangs somewhere in the midst of a busy schedule of releases for the Monkz threesome, with 'Slow Talking' featuring on Dave Seaman's latest compilation and the third of a trio of Plastic Fantastic tracks, 'Zakka' also soon to be released. Their production work is also on top of their in-demand DJ talents, seeing them jetting across the globe from likes of Barcelona to Miami. Busy guys indeed.

'Nu Bluez' could cause a few puzzled looks and heads to be scratched ...'Where have I heard that tune before?' Then those that have heard Sander Kleinenberg's recent Renaissance album, 'Everybody' will remember. Yes, up crops a mention of Sander's mix again, that funk-filled cheeky trip through the various permutations of house which has won many fans the world over - for being quirky and fun, but a damn good listen and well-crafted mix at the same time. Choc full of lovingly hand-picked tracks, Sander's album holds many gems and 'Nu Bluez' is one of them. Never remotely posing as a compilation 'filler', this track wasn't ever really destined to slip by quietly into obscurity.

Having unleashed a Radio 1 Essential Selection guest mix upon us, DJ'd up and down the UK and launched the fantastic new West London 'SOS' night with Demi (Deeper Substance) and Omid '16B' Nourizadeh within the space of last week, busy man Desyn Masiello, Alternative Route's head honcho, had the foresight (and keen ear) to know 'Nu Bluez' was something a little bit special. Subsequently, it was snapped up for release on the label. (This now showcases the third track off the 'Everybody' mix after Chable and Bonicci's 'Ride' and Matthew Dekay & Alvredo's 'Symbiosis', which too have been released on Alternative Route).

A chunky but soulful tech houser, the Original Mix of 'Nu Bluez' number fires up with a myriad of percussion and simple looped breakbeat before slamming into a solid 4/4 beat and fat, driving bassline. This rolls throughout the entire track, forming the fundamental groove to which 'Nu Bluez' adheres to. "Its a tribe thing" announces the male vocal as bright snares sizzle in the background and make you wonder what's round the corner. As if to answer, the vocal is then partnered by a slightly gruff- voiced female vocal who part sings and part speaks sections about her woes throughout 'Nu Bluez'. As the track progresses the female vocal becomes more predominant and with increasingly heavier delay added, before the devastatingly weighty

bassline kicks back in. The Monkz also throw in a bongo-filled breakdown and amazingly thunderous FX to the mix to add to the overall soundscape. These elements just add to the groove this track generates, managing to give the Original Mix an extremely effortless feel in the way it builds. Even after several listens you'll hear something new in this tune that you hadn't heard on previous listens.

Shootie's Pumpa mix offers more of an upbeat take on the Original, throwing down an unyielding groove and slightly edgier, darker sound. However Shootie still retains a whole heap of funk in his mix, threading its way throughout the track. Fat squelchy synth noises, claps and a beefed up bassline have been which add new aspects to the rhythm of 'Nu Bluez'. A hypnotic synth sound also crops up, which mid-track, cuts away to leave a spiralling, swirling and almost boiling water-like effect. In then cuts a chime like noise which accelerates and stutters in the background whilst the rough female vocal rants away. Towards the end of the tune, lead and bass guitar-like noises dance around in the background, bouncing harmonies off eachother. Its a subtle effect and polishes off a well produced mix.

Perfectly suited to the label's funky yet diverse offerings of tech house, tribal, progresssive house and breaks, 'Nu Bluez' is another Alternative Route signing which provides a cool-as-you-like transition between lighter, early set tunes and deeper, more meaty peaktime tunes for a DJ. Both the Original and Shootie's Pumpa Remix show that these particular Monkz, far from taking a monk-like vow of silence, are obviously heavily devoted to a religion of music, and they're now prepared to let the whole world know about it. Yet another winner from the Alternative Route camp!

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