Various Artists, Halal Prepared Vol. 1

[Boe Recordings]

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In Islamic parlance, food that’s been prepared in accordance with Sharia law is designated as halal, similar to the Jewish distinction of kosher foods. So by naming its seventh release Halal Prepared Vol.1 London-based Boe Recordings sends a strong signal regarding the level of respect it affords to house music’s underground fore-bearers and traditions. Yet the three tracks on offer here from KiNK, Iron Curtis and Ladzinski are reverent rather than than obedient — clearly influenced by seminal house releases but more than devotional works of blind faith. It’s likely the critical difference that could earn this EP a place in record buyers’ baskets while its strictly traditional peers huddle on the shelves.

Since turning toward the deep side in mid-2009, Bulgarian producer KiNK has impressed DJs and fans alike by turning up the heat on each new release. “Kiss the Sky” is a handy contender for KiNK’s crown jewel — luxuriant like 1,000 thread count sheets, brimming with sophisticated drum programming and scented with just a whiff of nostalgia. A STL-styled tremolo melody and brief string whine announce the arrival of matte chords as voluminous as a ship’s sails, and with its brisk syncopated snares and claps the tune splits the difference between New York garage house and Pepe Bradock’s magnificent “Deep Burnt.”

Germany’s Iron Curtis stays comfortably within his wheelhouse for the sighing “Back Up,” sprinkling ostinato chords with tingling percussive touches. But where the chords at first seem to curl under with each hit, they later flatten out and lose some of the character separating an otherwise enjoyable track from many others in this mold. The EP’s most conservative cut comes from Londoner Ladzinski, who made his vinyl debut on Boe in 2009. Relying heavily on the template laid out in early Kerri Chandler singles and since riffed upon by The Mountain People, “Diamond” soaks its swaying synth pattern in tense pads and sweeping harp arpeggios that add mystery to an otherwise obvious pursuit. With the notable exception of “Kiss the Sky,” Halal Prepared Vol.1 is unlikely to blow anyone’s mind, but I fully expect that won’t stop it from becoming part of some DJs’ nightly ritual.

littlewhiteearbuds  on April 24, 2010 at 10:43 PM

I’m shocked no one else has commented to praise “Kiss the Sky.” What a masterful construction; it really does stand head and shoulders above everything else I’ve heard of his. I dig on the other tracks too, but not like “Kiss the Sky.”

d.j.r.  on April 28, 2010 at 2:04 PM

I will! Love this release, I have been diving more and more into the deep end recently, just so much good stuff.


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