Discovering new artists and digging for records is always a joy, yet it’s the young labels breaking new ground which helps the continuity of music become more spellbinding. The Singapore based label Midnight Shift is one of these new imprints that stand out from the many others. They launch their musical venture with a collaboration between the Canadian Stuart Li aka Basic Soul Unit and the local newcomer Eddie Niguel who both delivered two original tracks each and the result entitled “The First Shift” is outstanding. With the former producer having released classics on labels like Ostgut Ton, Dolly and Nonplus among others it almost guarantees for another timeless addition to our record bags, but it’s the joint effort between a settled artist and a burgeoning one combined with their refreshing standpoint in between house and techno that makes for an apposite debut statement. Where the Singaporean producer Eddie Niguel might be a comparatively unfamiliar name in comparison to his confederate on this release, he certainly is no novice to electronic music. With ten years of DJing experience behind him as a techno DJ first and foremost, he won a remix competition of Pautrice Baumel’s “Roar” three years ago took it from there. Niguel is now releasing music under his own name and his alias Edel under which he will release an EP on Dig Deeper shortly.
As the name of the EP, “First Shift”, insinuates, the tracks on it are ones for the after and early hours. Starting off with the self-titled “Late Night Shift” by Basic Soul Unit, Li brings forward a characteristic jam that functions as what might in the context of the record function as a warm-up to what’s yet to come. The track slowly builds from a colder, percussion-driven atmosphere into a deeper and more hypnotic setting: it shifts from a formulaic rhythm to organic sounding parts and Basic Soul Unit promptly injects the funk we’re used to from him. This is what sets the tone for the rest of the release: within both the record and the separate tracks there is a lot of variety to be found in genre and in mood. “Black Ice” is the more startling one of the doublet, a high point: the beginning of the track slowly builds up to and centers around almost cosmic sounding synthesizer and bass lines, then continuing to reach forceful levels where the different parts slowly metamorphose into Chicago acid where Li breaks it down from a feeling of anticipation to straight rigor. And it’s only here, after the two wonderful tracks by Basic Soul Unit that would stand perfectly on their own, that the still unknown Eddie Niguel steps up.
And it is a pleasing initiation: “Paths” is a slow-burner that combines sultry polished house grooves with some rougher parts. The piano sampled over the top of the track is slow-moving and it’s almost as if it starts living it’s own life throughout the song, and this is exactly what makes it all that charming. The closer of the record entitled “Absolute” however is without a doubt the focal point of the release. Last but not least they say, and with this determinate track Niguel really switches it up with one of the most infectious crossover singles we have heard this year. It has everything: a pleasing three minutes build-up before he brings in straight-forward drum patterns, starts playing with vocal chops and teases us with several drops. There’s a hint of Italo in the track, but not quite yet: it’s a special one that undoubtedly go down perfectly during peak on any dance floor. The arrival of Midnight Shift is strong, and they hopefully will introduce more interesting combinations of deviating genres and artists in the future. It’s a refreshing combination of music, and we certainly can’t wait to hear more of Niguel’s future endeavors either. We’re officially on that shift work.
Stream: Basic Soul Unit & Eddie Niguel – The First Shift (Midnight Shift)