Walt J, Reborn

[Curle Petite]

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The combination of Discogs and YouTube has revolutionized the second-hand vinyl market over the past few years. Discogs has democratized record buying to the extent that you can buy almost any record you like — as long as you’re prepared to pay the often exorbitant asking price. Allied to the fact you can then check on YouTube if that track your favorite DJ played last night sounds quite as good now as it did at silly o’clock on a booming system, and it’s a record nerd’s wet dream. Even a “name” DJ such as Dor Levi was happy to admit in an interview it’s how he often discovers many of his favorite older tracks. The net result is that demand for certain records can reach such levels that prices fluctuate like shares on the stock exchange. Records that could once be bought at rock-bottom prices change hands for obscene amounts if certain DJs dig them out from the crates. Take Walt J for example. An obscure producer from Detroit whose biography I can furnish no further than with his surname (Jones), Walt J’s records from the mid-90s for the buy-on-sight Dow label (a subsidiary of the no less essential Utensil) have recently started fetching astronomical amounts. This time last year, you could pick up his records for under a tenner in any currency, but thanks to the patronage of Villalobos, Prosumer et al, and you’ll now be lucky to get change out of ten times that on some of his rarer wax.

Thank goodness then for reissue labels, such as Curle’s Petite enterprise, that save those of us slower off the mark from having to deal with the Discogs and Ebay shitehawks (and hopefully earn the artist some well-earned green). Of course, there’s still a price to pay on many a reissue; shoddy packaging, a poor pressing, or in this case, the loss of a track off the original pressing. Thankfully, compensation for this omission arrives somewhat with a very fine DJ Qu remix that more than complements the pair of Walt J originals. “Reborn 1” opens with a thump, and a disinterested, truncated female voice repeating “lay next to you,” before two notes lifted from “Can You Feel It” and a furious snare add seasoning. Fine ingredients, simply cooked, resulting in a very tasty whole. The aforementioned Qu “Journey Towards Birth” remix strips the voice out of “Reborn 1” for almost the duration, replacing the steady thud with yet steadier hi-hats and a Basic Channel groove, before finally bringing in the filtered vocal towards the end. More direct than most Qu workouts, and all the better for it. “Reborn 2” is melancholic Detroit techno at its best, strongly reminiscent of Jeff Mills’ more reflective work (think “Gamma Player”), with a cracking snare that makes for easy mixing fodder. An essential record, which at whatever price you pay for it, will feel like money well spent.

Blaktony  on September 19, 2010 at 11:40 AM

An essential banger (i think i remember this); nice 2 have it re-released.

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