In electronic music terms, the circumstances that brought the distinctly white and non-Detroit based Dan Shake onto Kenny Dixon Jr’s unimpeachably cool Mahogani Music imprint read like nothing short of a fairy tale when they surfaced last year. Working at Dimensions Festival in 2012, Shake hopefully passed a promo CD to the House demigod – and the rest is very much history. His ensuing ‘3AM Jazz Club’ single got people’s attention due to its unlikely backstory, although its appeal endured beyond this thanks to the supreme effectiveness of its slick Motor City referencing House. Now a year removed from that initial flurry of excitement comes Shake’s sophmore release on Bristol’s Black Acre – and with it the opportunity to begin carving out his own legacy.
Although it may land on a different label than its predecessor, ‘Out Of Sight’ comes constructed using very much the same musical palette as ‘3 AM Jazz Club’. Fans of mid 90’s era Moodymann are well catered to here, with Rhodes chords lapping away above an insistent groove and looped male and female vocals. A garnishing of live drums and intermittent bursts of woozy sax appear intermittently to keep things from veering into predictability, as Shake crafts an almighty hunk of soulful, bleary-eyed dancefloor sleaze.
On the flip we’re treated to the decidedly more slow burning ‘Traders II’, made in collaboration with Canadian veteran Rennie Foster. Here the bass is cleaner and pitched down and the Rhodes more relaxed, as the pair give precedence to the interplay between an acidic bass pattern and lazily drifting saxophone. Channeling the laid back Jazz hybrid stylings sometimes employed by KDJ’s Three Chairs collaborator and friend Rick Wilhite, this one nonetheless is underpinned by a club ready functionality that is fast becoming Shake’s trademark.
Undoubtedly referential, the two tracks on this release will probably provoke understandable – but quite frankly tedious, arguments about ‘authenticity’ and ‘originality’. Rather, the abiding impression from this release should be of an artist impressively accomplished at crafting pleasing cuts that many DJ’s will find hard to exclude from their bags. If he continues to rack up releases of this quality it will only be a matter of time before Shake’s back story becomes a footnote – as opposed to the headline, in his biography.
‘Out Of Sight/Traders II’ is out now on Black Acre. You can buy it here.