Sunday, May 16, 2021
Arts + Culture Music New Music: Dance releases bring the April heat

New Music: Dance releases bring the April heat

The Jacksons' mid-career landmark, Anz's morphing UK bass, Kumail's pastel boogie, more to get you on your feet


We have a certain dedication here at 48hills for tracking down those beats. House, hip-hop, techno, footwork, boogie, drill, City Pop, EDM, IDM, AOR, disco, drum and bass, clown step—that last one was a joke, but you get the picture. All eras of music play here. If it bumps, believe me, the track hits with timeless sincerity. San Francisco has always been a haven of sorts in regards to the appreciation of all types of rhythmic expression. With dancefloors slowly opening up over the next couple of months, we will attempt to feed that hunger for the beats. Turn up with, HEAT.


Last year, expansive disco dissertation Róisín Machine felt so thicc and ginormously full, you got a sense that in a regular year—one with fully operational dancefloors—DJs would be playing the bejeezus outta that entire record. From nips to knickers. Edits, remixes, and redirections would be popping off like those acid-inducing outfits Murphy grinds away in during her Youtube teleplays.

Welp, she gone run it back. Crooked Machine, is a reinterpretation of that album, produced by Crooked Man aka DJ Parrot, that keeps the hazy fullness at a 9.5 on the Murphy scale.  “Assimilation,” a rework of “Simulation” is the piano plinking, big-ass curvy bass communique—with all that 3 am goodness you were fiending for during red-cup quar-times. On headphones alone, it makes bass bins appear, rattling your junk. Headphones…

“[DJ] Parrot doesn’t try to be ‘cool,’ I reckon that’s the last thing on his mind,” Murphy said in a statement about working with the producer on the remix LP. “I think Crooked Machine is one of his greatest achievements so far…. I think I prefer it to the original album, slightly less me and all the more ‘cool’ for it!”

Crooked Machine arrives digitally on April 30 and on vinyl on June 11 as part of Record Store Day. More info here.


When Motown’s boy band meal-ticket left the once Detroit-based imprint for creative freedom, this version of The Jacksons dropped Jermaine. He stayed with Motown (with solo artist commitments) while the youngsters broke their group contract and left for Epic; he got replaced by the youngest Jackson brother Randy. 

With sophisticated arrangements handled by Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff—R&B, disco and soul masterminds behind the four-year stretch of million-selling singles and albums for Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes featuring Teddy Pendergrass—The Jacksons, their eleventh studio album to date was a huge hit after a drought of sorts for the group. Released in 1976 for Epic Records and Philadelphia International Records as a joint venture, it’s now one of four albums released by the group in the late 1970s and early ’80s currently being reissued in expanded digital or vinyl format. It’s part of a campaign by the family’s original label, Epic, and Sony Music’s catalog imprint, Legacy, to re-expose the music the group made between the Jackson 5’s enormous ’60s success and Michael Jackson’s becoming the biggest star in the business with “Thriller.”

Production credits include McFadden and Whitehead, Dexter Wansel, and The Jacksons themselves. The album spawned the top 10 single “Enjoy Yourself”, Gamble and Huff’s first in two years, and a second successful R&B single, “Show You the Way to Go” which hit #1 in the UK. This change seemed to suit everyone involved.

Released the same year Teddy Pendergrass left Harold Melvin and The Blue Notes for a successful solo career, at times the new-fangled Jackson 5 setup operated like a first-rate Harold Melvin knock-off record—from the disco stretches built on that Gamble and Huff cosmopolitan hustle and distorted bluesy guitar solo’s found on “Living Together.” Michael was pleading, stating his case, a full octave higher than Teddy, but still playing the convincing loverman role. The album was the Jacksons’ first gold album, proving that maturity with a grown sound and point of view, could wash away that boy band stench Motown drowned the famous brothers in.


Anz is a DJ and producer based in Manchester, “renowned for her genre-spanning productions and mixes, she unearths the links between Electro, UK Garage, Jungle and more, underpinning a versatile take on contemporary UK club music that is as bright as it is unpredictable,” according to her bio.

 “Morphing Into Brighter” backs up all that sweet-smelling talk by delivering a synthesis of UK bass music for the past 30 years. Breakcore sliced up into segments, rave stabs, 808s running amok, and that Amen break keeping everybody honest. Basics, leave your simple “one beat” BS at the door. I want more Anz, please. “Morphing Into Brighter” is the b-side of recent release “OTMI001,” which you can get here.


Bay Area producer and Slept On Records co-owner Nick Andre constructs a mind-grime word-hustling banger of a beat on “Pen and Paper.” It finds emcees Deuce Eclipse and Equipto setting bars ablaze with pandemic stress and lyrical precision. Coming fresh off the heels of Andre’s recent single “Life is Awesome”  feat. Lil B, Zion I, and Casual of Hieroglyphics, the follow-up got a bit of a different wiggle to it. 

“‘Pen and Paper’ is a song about the importance of music as an art form” says Deuce Eclipse. “When live performances were essentially taken away from musicians overnight, it made me realize how grateful I am to be able to continue to create art with just a pen and paper. It also put so much more focus on the fact that music serves as a medium to inform the masses, and although I’ve always written conscious lyrics, I felt like people were now listening to music more intensely, so what I was writing about became much more important during the pandemic. I feel music is a saving grace that allows you to leave a legacy, especially during poignant times of so much change, uncertainty, stress, pain, loss, and turmoil.”  Get it here.


Last heard from in 2019 with his “Yasmin” celestial-type radio show of a 30-minute mixtape, Mumbai-based artist Kumail has returned, stunting with the silk shirt funk, becoming an active participant in that ambient mixtape instead of curating it. “Without You,” filled with pastel hooks and roto-tom build-ups, reaches beyond just pedestrian boogie fare, there is a whole aesthetic at work here. New fangled 80s R&B. High AF on Japanese City Pop. Ffolkes, the creamsicle never tasted so good. Kumail, hurry up and hit us with the long-player, player. You can pick it up here.

John-Paul Shiver
John-Paul Shiver has been contributing to 48 Hills since 2019. His work as an experienced music journalist and pop culture commentator has appeared in the Wire, Resident Advisor, SF Weekly, Bandcamp Daily, PulpLab, AFROPUNK, and Drowned In Sound.

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