Various Artists, Semesters II

[Strength Music]

Buy Vinyl

In New York the phrase “record store” still means something. While Virgin Megastores crumble around us, a handful of stores keep up the good fight and stay true to the “record” part of the title. One of those is Halcyon in Brooklyn, headquarters for plenty of New York house artists and labels, and purveyor of quality dance music, both international and domestic. While making the rounds there a couple weeks ago Semesters II on Strength Music caught my eye, not only because of its purple marbled vinyl but because its grooves were etched with the work of Jus-Ed, Fred P and DJ Qu. It’s hard to ignore a record with such promise, especially at domestic prices, and unsurprisingly Semesters II is full of wonderful and weird New York house.

Jus-Ed kicks things off with “Maryland Jam,” a tune whose radar pings, serene pads and soft bass tones place it many leagues deep underwater. In a year that’s seen more than a few tunes creep out of Ed’s studio, “Maryland Jam” is a highlight whose relaxed, height-of-summer vibes seem ripe for scoring a vacation. “It Is What It Is,” penned by Fred Peterkin, continues the laid-back atmosphere but takes a more moody turn. Wistful strings and minor electronic tones change slowly on their own time, balanced out by a flurry of sharp hi-hats. It’s the highlight of the 12″, and considering its peers that’s saying something. DJ Qu takes a major left turn with the bizarre “Ahead.” Repeated whispers and voices urging us to “look ahead” sit atop rather straightforward percussion, but an untreated piano barges in, turning the strange into the strangely lovely. While record stores are becoming rarer with each passing year there is no shortage of house singles to fill them, so do yourself a favor and cut through the riff raff by picking up this marbled slice of wax from your local record store post haste.

Peter Skovgaard Andersen  on August 19, 2010 at 4:10 PM

I really like Fred P’s track.

Kostya  on August 19, 2010 at 4:36 PM

Whole EP is dope, in my opinion!
Strenght Keeps Straight!!!

Blaktony  on August 20, 2010 at 5:18 AM

A must-have badass record!!!

lerato  on August 20, 2010 at 10:37 AM

winner !

loud  on August 25, 2010 at 7:30 PM


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