After a run of remixes for a myriad of labels including Throne of Blood, Innervision and Live At Robert Johnson, Tuff City Kids have released their debut record on Unterton, an Ostgut Ton sub-label. Tuff City Kids is the brainchild of respected music journalist Gerd Janson and German producer Phillip Lauer. The pair has combined forces to create what Hardwax calls a “DJ tool, retro house bomb” and we’re inclined to agree. Their “Bobby Tacker EP” is filled with tried and true sounds, a tip to their disco and house upbringing. For the most part these are no holds barred tracks that’s strength comes for being so direct and to the point.
The A-side, “SFS”, has a reference point clearly rooted in mid-nineties Detroit techno with an almost toned down Jeff Mills sound to it. From the first five seconds onward the track is trance inducing and it owes a lot that effect to the gated and delayed synth; they’re the main attraction, bested only the rolling bass. Halfway through the track becomes slightly more uplifting with tonal changes in that hypnotic synth. It finishes out on this note in proper DJ tool fashion. “Bias” brings to mind the recent Bristol house sound with its Chicago leanings and use of release heavy bass. Over the course of five minutes, androgynous vocal snippets are laced over a relatively unchanging groove. Once again this is a quality mid-night filler track. The darkest of the three is “Begger” with eerie synth leads being filtered in and out along with a sizable amount of reverb; the vibe produced is extremely unique. We couldn’t help, but think of the Hessle guys after hearing this one, the atmosphere and overall drama is right up there alley (DJ set wise). Seven minutes fly by and you won’t even realize you’ve basically been listening to an amazing four bar loop. It may be four bars, but the sounds are twisted and modulated into interesting combinations.
Janson and Lauer make a great team and they seem to have plenty ideas up their sleeves. The tracks are a testament to two veteran DJs, producers, and partygoers who know exactly what is necessary to work a dance floor. When the people behind a legendary label such as Ostgut Ton give you the keys to car you know you’re doing something right. With that in mind, grab yourself a copy and watch floors light up to any one of these bombs.
Stream: Tuff City Kids – Begger (Unterton)
Tuff City Kids’s Bobby Tacker EP is out now on Unterton.