Recommended: Duster Valentine / Aardvarck – Tracks from the Vault Vol. 1

“The Vault” is a mysterious place, reserved for random collections of Ashanti songs, the imprisonment of princesses between Disney marketing waves, and apparently the space is shared with an assortment of Rush Hour records as well. Through the label’s 13 years, they’ve accumulated enough material to merit the start of a new series called “Tracks from the Vault,” in which they release lost, unusual or ‘arcane’ material that has, for whatever reason, not yet been released but still deserves to be heard.

The first side comes from Duster Valentine, a mysterious producer who after some digging we found out to be Paul Bennett, who unfortunately has a similarly vague discography. Anyway, we don’t feel the need to uncover any mystery to be satisfied by this one: “(My Back Is) Against the Wall” is a straight-forward, euphoric and soaring house jam. It drops any sort of limiting self-awareness of the ways it might call on the classics, in favour of wrapping us up in how much fun it’s having. It’s relentless and rollicking, the kicking drums constructing false memories of New York’s golden age of house music to drive it on in time with disco samples and a piano riff as the twinkle in its eye.

Stream: Duster Valentine – (My Back Is) Against the Wall (Rush Hour) 

You might have heard the flipside before, as Aardvarck released “(Just Washed) That Pig” back in 2005, but it was a seriously limited-run one-sided promo. This “unreleased, extended mix” gives another chance for more people to get their hands on Aardvarck’s recycling of Block 16’s “Morning Sun (Pepe Bradock’s Brad Deep Remix).” It’s in tune with the lightheartedness of this release’s A-side, for fans of feel-good records by artists like FCL, Dusky or Bicep.

Stream: Aardvarck – (Just Washed) That Pig (Rush Hour)

Overall, it’s a complete shame that either of these gems were ever unreleased, and we’re very thankful that someone blew the dust off and decided to share them. Duster Valentine’s contribution in particular is a new favourite, and judging by the unusual lack of fanfare surrounding this release it’s probably alright to count on this one as a secret weapon. That being said, we’d probably be just as glad to hear it if it were in everyone’s crates, where it belongs.

Rush Hour’s “Tracks from the Vault Vol. 1” was released September 2011, you can buy it here.

Cayley MacArthur

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