25 Sep 2021

Remember Me? | Join | Recover
Click here to sign in via social networking

House Of Downtown - Album Review: Re-Release

06 May 2021 // A review by Jamie Denton

Electronica/house music legends House of Downtown return from a near-twenty-year hiatus with a new album entitled Re-Release that revisits, remixes, remasters, and reconceptualises 2001’s critically and commercially successful debut album Release. Having been very familiar with House of Downtown during their original heyday and having spent a lot of time listening to their previous releases (the aforementioned Release and 2003’s Mutha Funkin’ Earth), I was nervously excited to check this new album out. Twenty years is a long time, and the past can be a strange place to revisit. However, any feelings of trepidation were alleviated very quickly after putting on Re-Release. The signature sound of House of Downtown was still there – that intoxicatingly fresh blend of house, soul, funk, and disco liberally peppered with strong Pacific and Aotearoa influences – and it was a genuinely new and vibrant experience in sound, not just a simple nostalgia ride.

The album kicks off with the smooth, funky, groove of Whatever Comes (Jason Eli Remix); a confident, hook-laden, and massively fun track that demands the body to move in some way. Sitting at my desk writing this, I find myself unknowingly grooving along to this track in my chair as I compose my thoughts – and in that moment of realising I am doing that, also realise that is exactly the right response to document for this track. The musical interplay between the vocal sample, the keyboard, and that big funky bassline is super-fun to listen to. There is a beautiful sense of space, with each instrument (I’m including the vocal sample as an instrument here) stepping forward and backward naturally to fill and free up space in a gentle playfulness. This is a true masterclass in the old adage of ‘the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.’

Sitting roughly mid-album is Tapa (MissB Remix) which veers towards a more trance-like approach, with the creation of a lush, luscious soundscape mid-track that wouldn’t be out of place as a soundtrack to an epic movie scene. Playing more with instrumental layers and samples, and relying less on vocal samples, Tapa (MissB Remix) lays the beat a little further back in the overall sound, allowing some of the more rhythmic elements within the instrumentation help propel the track forward in some of its quieter moments. There is a thoughtfulness within this track and a carefulness to its arrangement that I started to appreciate more and more with repeated listens.

Other highlights (for me) of this album include the more vocally driven Feel It (Phillipa’s Love Letter to NZ), the first single Rise Above (previously reviewed here), the heavy bounce of Downtown Groove (Dice_NZ Remix), and the kinetic, dynamic album-closer Feel It (Dice_NZ Broke The Beat Remix) which provides a strong natural closure to the overall experience.

The album sounds fantastic, the production is crisp and clean without being overproduced or overly slick, the songs retain that House of Downtown signature sound but are fresh and vibrant and will provide a welcome addition to a catalogue of music that left a long shadow of influence over the New Zealand electronic music scene for many years and will continue to do so for many years to come.

Rating: ( 5 / 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

Other Reviews By Jamie Denton

Justin Sane - Single Review: You Bout That
10 Jun 2021 // by Jamie Denton
Ex-UK, now Auckland-based DJ/producer, Justin Sanehas a long history in the music industry. He has been releasing music for over 15 years, both within Aotearoa New Zealand and the UK, and has a long list of collaborations with a wide range of artists (including Dane Rumble, Kids in Space, {3Oh!
House Of Downtown - Single Review: Rise Above (OOJ Remix)
27 Apr 2021 // 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!
Jadukor - Single Review: King of the Ring
14 Feb 2021 // by Jamie Denton
Originally hailing from Bangladesh, Jadukor (which literally means magician in Bengali) is a global citizen who now calls Aotearoa, New Zealand home. The previous sentence is about all that is known about this mysterious solo act, and that is exactly how he wants it.
theajsound and NEEKOH - Single Review: Minefield
04 Dec 2020 // by Jamie Denton
Collaborations are inherently risky propositions; how will two distinct and strong personalities work together? Will their visions of the output align?
Sam V - Single Review: Up Up Down
10 Nov 2020 // by Jamie Denton
Earlier this month, Auckland-based hip-hop/R&B artist Sam V dropped his latest single entitled Up Up Down. Continuing his productive and prolific collaboration with producer EDY, Up Up Down retains many of the stylistic qualities and signature sound that was established in Sam V’s previous outputs.
Hotel Death Star - Single Review: You're Not Jesus
03 Nov 2020 // by Jamie Denton
Bali based Hotel Death Star is a collaborative EDM project between expat singer-songwriter Phil Stoodley (perhaps best known for his solo work and his early rock band Stoods) and Bali-national producer-composer-multi-instrumentalist Andreas Arianto. In contrast to the guitar-based rock and pop that dominated Phil Stoodley’s earlier projects, Hotel Death Star’s first single, You’re Not Jesus, sees the pair dive into electronica, especially deep house territory.
Banana Mundo - Single Review: Bananas of the World
23 Sep 2020 // by Jamie Denton
The intriguingly named Banana Mundo is an 8-piece musical collective from New Plymouth. Boasting members from around the world, the collective includes musicians from France, Argentina, Venezuela, Switzerland, England, Uruguay, and our own little piece of paradise, Aotearoa New Zealand.
Reignmaker - EP Review: Demos from Uranus
23 Jul 2020 // by Jamie Denton
Reignmaker, who identify themselves as a "brutal aliencore duo … from the Swamp and from the Hutt", have just released their first two-track EP, entitled Demos from Uranus. With a total run time of just 3-minutes, the EP blasts out of the gate and past the listener as a lightning-bolt of uncontrollable, frenetic, schizophrenic energy.
View All Articles By Jamie Denton

NZ Top 10 Singles

  • STAY
    The Kid LAROI And Justin Bieber
    Lil Nas X feat. Jack Harlow
    Ed Sheeran
    Elton John And Dua Lipa
    Glass Animals
    Billie Eilish
    Ed Sheeran
    Doja Cat
    Drake feat. Travis Scott
View the Full NZ Top 40...
muzic.net.nz Logo
100% New Zealand Music
All content on this website is copyright to muzic.net.nz and other respective rights holders. Redistribution of any material presented here without permission is prohibited.
Report a ProblemReport A Problem