Given the success of the Hoya:Hoya night, it was only a matter of time before organisers Illum Sphere and Jonny Dub decided to expand the enterprise. Bringing a steady stream of forward thinking bass music to Manchester over the past 2 years has presumably given them a taste for greater things, and with this 12” they inaugurate the Hoya:Hoya label. Its remit is to showcase music from artists who’ve played at the night (as illustrious a list as any A&R man could hope for), though for the first release, things are kept strictly in the
Don’t let that put you off though: Hoya have one of the most blistering rosters of residents you’ll find on these fair isles, taking in a range of tempos and rhythmic templates but all shot through with an ear for the cutting edge and a reverent approach to the treasures of the past – variously soul, funk, disco and house of all creeds and colours.
In opening the 12” with Sweat The Descent, the hotly-tipped Illum Sphere delivers something in the vein of his more recent, uptempo productions – the press release describes the track as his ‘take on UK Funky’, though little remains of that sound beyond a quick-steppin’ tempo. Its persistent kickdrum, loose showers of snare hits and endless layers of soulful synth noodling tread a curious line between UK bass stylings and something altogether more melody-focussed; a formula sure to chime with the likes of Eglo and associates.
Over on the B side, Lone’s offering is the most ‘floor-ready of the three, building on his recent self-released 10” in taking its cues more from jackin’ house and early hardcore than the science documentary-kitsch of previous albums. Given that every foray into this new sound of his is more accomplished than the last, it’s reasonable to expect big things of Let The Music Play, and it doesn’t disappoint. Helium vocals, detuned pianos and woozy synthetic swirls are shackled to that all-important house pump – as disorientating as it is propulsive.
Finally, relative newcomer Krystal Klear closes proceedings with a sound which is sure to become signature before long – his considered melodies and loose, soulful arrangement making for an admirably non-ironic take on 80s boogie and R&B. Persuade Me is likely to work as well in a vintage disco set as it will alongside contemporary fare; a strange but admirable feat which somehow sums up the courageous nature of this debut release. It may straddle the dancefloor/bedroom divide across its three tracks, but there’s little
doubt that the loved up vibes on display in this 12” are in the ascendant – and Hoya’s real success is in gathering together such a talented and forward thinking cadre of musicians under a single banner. With form like this, they’ll go far.
Words // Angus Finlayson