25 Sep 2021

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House Of Downtown - Single Review: Rise Above (OOJ Remix)

27 Apr 2021 // A review by Jamie Denton

Auckland-based electronic scene-legends House of Downtown break a near twenty-year hiatus with new single Rise Above (OOJ Remix). Coming from their forthcoming album entitled Re-Release (an album that revisits, remixes, remasters, and re-conceptualises their debut album Release for its twentieth anniversary – my review for that is also coming soon!), this single reimagines fan favourite Rise Above.

While the original 2001 version of Rise Above opened with the slow application of various sound effects, a minimalist synth line, and a deep, distorted bass, its reconceived 2021 counterpart streamlines this approach, exploding straight out of the blocks with the vocals and a big, yet somewhat minimalist beat. There is no slow subtle fade in, no slow swelling of studio effects, or gradual introduction of instruments this time. This time around, House of Downtown drop the listener deep into midst of it all, akin to arriving at the club mid-set and simply ‘jumping in boots and all’.

Rise Above (OOJ Remix) retain the classic House of Downtown signature sound, that fresh blend of house, soul, R&B, funk, disco with a strong Pacific/Aotearoa influence but also update that sound by taking advantage of the advancements that have been made in mixing, production, and mastering over the past twenty years. This provides a slick, powerful, enjoyable ride through the familiar territory of an old classic. However, House of Downtown have iterated Rise Above (OOJ Remix) just enough to keep it within the same neighbourhood as the 2001 version, but not just a shuffling of the deck chairs on the lawn or a new smattering of paint on the same old walls. Instead, this feels like a new home in a familiar community.

Indeed, the real strength of this track remains within its song-writing. Rise Above (OOJ Remix) takes the 6 minute 25 second track and cuts it down to a taunt, lean, muscular, yet energetic 3 minutes 12 seconds. Furthermore, it does so by breathing new energy and fire into a New Zealand house classic and is destined to get old and new fans’ hearts pounding and bodies sweating.

Overall, this is a very interesting release. It does not simply dwell on the retro-cool of being a re-tweaking and reimagining of a twenty-year-old piece of New Zealand electronica history, but instead stands up as strongly on its own two feet. Indeed, it is like being visited by an old friend, but not one who is simply reminiscing on the past, but instead who may be in better shape than they ever were.

Rating: ( 4 / 5 )

About House Of Downtown

NZ Electronic music pioneers since before the internet merging Funk, House, Soul & Pacific vibes. Uniquely Aotearoan.

House of Downtown are a New Zealand-based electronic music act consisting of DJs / producers Christiaan Ercolano and Emerson Todd.

They have released two well received albums on their own State House record label via Universal Music, as well as several 12-inch singles on State House and Simon Flower's 'South Exit' label.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for House Of Downtown


Year: 2021
Type: Album
Mutha Funkin Earth
Year: 2003
Type: Album
Year: 2001
Type: Album

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