Elektrons - Red Light, Don't Stop
Elektrons - Red Light, Don't Stop
(CD/2xLP) Wall Of Sound, 2007-08-20
01. Get Up (feat. Pete Simpson and Soup of Jurassic 5)
02. Dirty Basement (feat. Eska Mtungwazi)
03. Hurry on Down (feat. Pete Simpson)
04. Stop Hold It (feat. Tor)
05. Maximal (feat. Pete Simpson)
06. Classic Cliché (feat. Mpho Skeef)
07. No Matter What Do (feat. Holly Backler)
08. The Source (feat. Pete Simpson)
09. Don't Give Up (feat. Holly Backler)
10. Wishing (feat. Pete Simpson)
12. Joy (feat. Pete Simpson)
myspace.com/zedbias (co-producer of the album)
Press Release :
The Unabombers - aka Luke Cowdrey and Justin Crawford - are about to unleash another side of their electric souls with their debut album as Elektrons. Red Light, Don't Stop is the freshest, most dynamic, confident and sexy British dance record you'll hear this year.
It's upbeat. It's down and dirty. It's a melting pot that incorporates the finest contemporary British sounds, from East End grime MCs to Northern sulphuric soul and futuristic disco, but informed by the great traditions of Britain's underground club culture over the last 30 years, from rare groove to acid house. It also marks the arrival of a new British dance collective rooted in the basement clubs of Northern England, but following in the tradition of Soul II Soul, the Wild Bunch and Bugz in the Attic.
The Elektrons first surfaced with last year's 'Get Up EP', which was only supposed to be a low-key sampler, but due to word of mouth became Piccadilly Records (MusicWeek's Independent Store of the Year 2006) biggest selling 12" of the year. "The reaction was amazing," says Luke, "and that really gave us the confidence to be bold with the album."
Luke and Justin made their name with clubbing institution Electric Chair which, although underground (quite literally a dirty, sweaty basement beneath the pavements of Manchester), never saw being 'underground' as a badge of pride. It was never about being elitist or obscurist. "We never wanted a club full of white kids in Underground Resistance t-shirts and cagoules talking about broken beat and spunk jazz," explains Luke, "we love that music, but we also like good outsider pop music as well. We love Missy Elliot, we love the Neptunes… even Beyonce." It was this music policy above all that created a unique party where everyone partied as one - students and scallies, strangers and soul mates, north and south, straights and gays… and visiting clubbing legends from Laurent Garnier to Francois Kervokian, would go away evangelical about the energy and soul of the club.
In recent years, The Unabombers have rocked basements and lofts across the world, from the West Coast of America to Thailand, produced a mighty run of compilation albums, and critically acclaimed re-edits and remixes as Electric Souls. They also began to tour as the Electric Souls Soundsystem, featuring fresh new British vocalists like Pete Simpson, at clubs and festivals like V. "We were almost shocked at the response to the soundsystem' laughs Luke, "everyone was like 'You've really got something here, you've got to get in the studio and capture it.'"
"We just felt we needed to find our own sound,' explains Justin, "we'd worked on a few things, but 'Get Up' was the first time we'd managed to distil all our influences into something fresh and new."
"The Unabombers are rooted in that underground basement sound," furthers Luke, "but the Elektrons is more a collage of every sound we're into. It's still rooted in Black music, but it's more quintessentially British and reflects that we're really against that snobbery in the underground towards R&B or two-step or garage. We're not afraid to throw all those into the pot, so a lot of the tracks on the album have an oddball fusion of all those styles."
The two tracks which bookmark the album, 'Get Up' and 'Joy', written with long-time Electric Souls collaborator Pete Simpson were the first fruits of those first sessions at the Elektrons own Hard Soul Studio in Manchester. After which the Elektrons embraced what they see as an exciting new breed of British vocalists, including Mpho Skeef, Eska, Tor and Holly Backler. "We felt really energised by these new British vocal talents and you can hear that in the music," explains Justin, "we knew we wanted a British sound but a lot of the male UK MCs are a little too aggressive for our music, which is why we ended up working more with female MCs."
The lead single from the album, the sexy subterranean anti-bling anthem 'Dirty Basement' sees London diva Eska expanding on the Elektrons rhetoric that all the best parties really need is a basement and red light. Possible future single, the summery 'Classic Cliché' featuring Mpho Skeef, showcases the lighter more upbeat sound of the Elektrons. "It's a very modern sound, but with a nod to the past' explains Justin, 'almost like a modern day Minnie Ripperton."
'Stop Hold It' is a bouncier up-tempo side of the Elektrons featuring Tor. "She just took the beat and demoed her vocals,' recalls Justin, 'and we got it back and it blew us away." Pete Simpson features on five tracks in total including the Northern Soul-inspired 'Hurry On Down', and the harder edged 'Maximal', as well as 'Get Up', the new version of which now features Soup from Jurassic 5, and will be the second single from the album.
"I think people will be surprised by the album," says Luke, "but that's what we wanted. We didn't want to just try and emulate our old American heroes, we wanted to make something which was rooted in Black music but quintessentially British and contemporary, and break a few barriers."
What the Elektrons have done is make an underground record with a mainstream sensibility. A record that knows its history but is very much of its time. A contemporary urban British dance record that will still sound fresh when all this new rave bollocks is long forgotten.
All you need is a Red light. Don't stop.