Elements of Life - Innocence and Inspiration
After shining a light on the Garage’n’Breaks of Persian and the Bump’n’House of Brian Bristol, the Mysticisms’ crew return with another reissue, to a source of love and inspiration, the epicenter of the 90s NYC club music’s explosion and development, with an EP from the music production partnership of Lee Rodriguez and Steven John Craden.
Better known as the team behind must-have The African Dream double-header on Eightball Records, they were a feature, under numerous pseudonyms, on the early 90s NYC scene with appearances on a who’s who of labels including Movin’, Strictly Rhythm, Tribal and with Elements of Life, on Oxygen Music Works.
Released as a 12”, a 2 x 12” and a CD album, the want of a lot of US labels at the time to mirror the success of Hip Hop saw an attempt to grow House ‘projects’ from club EPs to being seen as artists via albums and onwards.
The limited success of that tactic wasn’t to the detriment of solid music and what the four tracks included here show is at their heart are talented producers who can encompass ambient, jazz and deep / spiritual House music with aplomb.
The EP starts with Opening, a short introductory piece with mellow hats and warm keys that serve to show this is not your average 4 tracker, before soon giving way to the deep intensity of Dark Intervals. Tight drums, hats high and keys pushing, the vocal samples and swirling atmospherics all yield to a bass calling for loud sound systems.
On the reverse is an immense example of spiritual NYC house music for the ages in Innocence And Inspiration. The up, up, up hats, double bass, swirling arpeggio, tight claps, whistle strings, ridin’ jazz fused break-beats and then that purity of the piano cuts through everything like that shit is real. A break and solo for talc, drop and spins on Vinyl Sundays, those Latinos stage left, just watch and learn.
To close, the other side of Rodriquez and Craden is apparent in Are You With Me My Love? Taken from the album, here included to provide a repost to the grooves that have gone before. A song for sunset and sunrise – Ibizan ambience, with lilting keys, shanty samples, vocal questions and a melancholic horn refrain till end.
Uncover the Mystery.