Artist: Eli Escobar
Release: Out Now
I think it’s fair to say that in my years of writing about all sorts of stuff within the industry, from using ear protection, to having integrity in the industry, I can’t say that reviewing music has been my forte. I listen to some singles or albums and literally feel the music, but there’s a big difference between tweeting a 140 character mini review and elaborating so that you have a solid critique of an artist’s body of work, where others may actually take heed and stream the album, or God forbid, go buy it.
Part of the reason I don’t do music reviews is I’m very rarely asked. Being on promo mailouts mean that you’re having to review music all the time and I’m not one for the cut and paste approach, similar to ‘downloaded for R Hawtin’. I’m still unaware whether labels would prefer a whole host of ‘Smashed It’ responses to a more considered response? I’m that guy that goes for the longer reply, so let’s see how this review of Eli Escobar’s latest long player ‘Happiness’ turns out.
It’s fair to say Eli Escobar isn’t the reclusive producer that disappears for ages, leaving eager followers yearning for more. What we have here in ‘Happiness’ is a slick, cohesive album that in a nutshell evokes plenty of late 90s Mood II Swing vibes whilst at the roller disco. I’ve been of the opinion that the house artist that has a few hits and then has pressure to cobble together an album off the back of that, often miss the mark. No such pressure on Escobar and he’s serving up half of the saying made famous by his namesake Pablo – ‘Plato o Plomo’. For those that don’t know, that translates to silver or lead, which in turn meant money or bullets. There’s plenty of bullets on this album and I’ll give you a run down of its highlights:
I’ve gotta start at the track entitled ‘Chaka Khan’, right? Who wouldn’t? The track kicks off with what sounds like someone being caught on tape in Paris Is Burning, doing the infamous intro to ‘I Feel For You’. The track rapidly switches to some serious heads down, stripped back, traditional Chicago energy. The intro voice repeats ‘This Is My House’ throughout and although the track does tread well-worn territory, it does declare that this is Eli Escobar’s take on house.
You may be more familiar with ‘Phreeky’, which has already topped the Traxsource chart and is the disco ying to the gritty yang of ‘Chaka Khan’. Layers of disco elements and vocal stabs (I’m sure I’m hearing a nano-sample of Toms Diner?) put in the melting pot and served up with the sole intention of getting you to shake your arse! ‘I Need U’ is where my comparison to Mood II Swing is most obvious with the track sounding like a close descendant of ‘Do It Your Way’ and in no way should that detract from Escobar’s track as anything close to ‘Do It Your Way’ is good in my eyes. ‘Happiness’ is a carefully considered curation of cuts aimed squarely at the house music connoisseur that doesn’t take their chin-stroking too seriously.
A1. Happiness Pt. 2
A2. I Need U
B1. In The Dark (Feat. Nomi Ruiz)
B2. Chaka Khan
C1. Miss My Luv
C2. Winter’s Anthem
D1. Happiness Reprise
D2. Phreeky (Feat. Vanessa Daou & Nomi Ruiz)
D3. Can’t Stop Dancing feat. Nomi Ruiz
D4. 4 Luv (Feat. Nomi Ruiz)