House club music is well and truly alive in the good hands of Greece-born and Midnight Shift label artist, Argy. Brendon P reviews his latest album on Ibadan Records, 'Fundamentals'.
Argy and Martinez Brothers Piano Jam at Ibadan Records
My first encounter with his music came via an EP I received in the post back in 2005, during my days as a resident at Zouk, which was a promo of his track 'Love Dose' on Steve Bug's Pokerfat imprint. Minimal had re-gathered steam and a new wave of tech-house was sweeping dancefloors across the globe off their feet. It was no surprise that I followed Pokerflat's slew of releases that were to come and the next Argy release on that which was the Night Ritual E.P, close to a year after.
Drawn to his high production standards and his uncanny ability to effortlessly blend the essential American house and techno elements with those quintessentially European, Argyris Theofilis, or Argy, as the world knows him by, was given my undivided attention and curiosity with every release or remix he put out beyond the two that I'd already knew, and quite suddenly, also, on labels such as Cadenza, Objektivity, Liebe Detail, Retouch, Versatile, and, of course, a long time favorite, Ibadan (I also have everything that he's put out on his own label These Days).
He fell off the radar for a short spell, but that was only because of his extensive DJ schedule,which had taken him to just about everywhere you can possibly imagine, and also to take time in developing his own label. Since Pokerflat's Focus On Argy LP release in 2008 there's not been an actual long player, to my knowledge, that has collectively captured his new and recent body of work. Until now.
Argy - Fundamentals - Ibadan Records by ibadan
Fundamentals, the new artist album by Argy, is not a compilation of anything recent (with the exception of Upon Ourselves, originally released in 2009). But rather an actual artist album, and probably the one that all his fans across the globe have been eagerly awaiting. Released on October 11th this year on Ibadan, which can lay claim to being one of the most long running and successful house music labels to date, it generally brings you up to speed with Argy and his present influences.
Don't look for anything technically diabolical or life-changing. This is a total house onslaught; an all out club album. Nothing too experimental or indulgent, just an all out assault on the dancefloor filled with what you'd probably hear in an Argy DJ set. An amalgamation of his influences past and present. As warm as it is inviting, it shows that he's matured as a person and as a producer on tracks like It Feels So Good, Let's Tremble (featuring the vocal rants of Stefan Alexis) and Absent Friends. Merging his past influences circa early 90's house into tracks like Party People, NY Anthem and the flamboyant String Poetry; it's clear that he's somewhat, telling a story; not as much from the DJ booth or producers desk, but from his experiences on the dancefloor itself. Close your eyes and they could've easily made the Sound Factory or Twilo playlist at some point in their exuberant existence.
Dinner at Kerri's is an obvious tribute to a long cherished and respected aficionado (and good friend) Kerri Chandler and I'm In is probably going down in my books as one of the better house tunes i've not heard in a long time. His love for techno can also be demonstrated in the Detroit-influenced Indulgence, also one of the albums stand out tracks.
Which brings me down to my album favorite, the effervescent 2009 single release, Upon Ourselves, featuring the vocal talents of Indian-born, Portugal and South African-raised poet and singer, Bajka (pronounced "Bai-Kah"). The version on the album being re-worked with Ibadan label boss and production partner Jerome Sydenham and the only actual full-on vocal track on the album. Technically, this would be Argy's 'first' artist album, and a his testimony to his vision of a great club night out, and if these initial results are anything to go by, I'd really like to hear what the next one sounds like.
01: Party People
02: It Feels so Good
03: I’m In
04: NY Anthem
05: Upon Ourselves feat. Bajka (Argy and Jerome Sydenham Version)
06: String Poetry
07: Peace of Me” feat. POSH! The Prince
08: Dinner at Kerri’s
10: Absent Friends (Original Mix)