Album Reviews

Satoshi Tomiie – ES-B

(Saw) UK release date: 8 August 2005

Co-writing the legendary early house anthem Tears with Frankie Knuckles has placed Satoshi Tomiie in the dance music hall of fame. Recently, though, Tomiie has shown he can cut it on his own, both as solo artist and DJ.

His debut album Full Lick may have been a touch overblown but it featured some impressively tough music, with Kelli Ali a guest for the excellent Love In Traffic and the catchy single Up In Flames, which became a big club hit in 2000-2001.

Since then Tomiie’s reputation has been more as a turntablist, with a well-received mix double for Global Underground and now this, a companion disc to ES, also mixed by Tomiie and released a month prior by New York’s Saw Recordings. ES-B consciously pulls the tempo back a notch, and rather than concentrating on Tomiie’s brand of progressive house it looks at cool, minimal disco music.

Tomiie cultivates a groove that proves impossible to shake off, and the opening trio from Star You Star Me, Metro Area. and Tomiie himself are characterised by simple, straightforward beats and slowly building chords. As the mix builds Tomiie begins to introduce tougher music, M1‘s excellent Man:Machine hitting a chunky bass loop with a beefy kick drum, and contributions from Dan Berkson and Jon Tejada take the music into less melodic tech house territory.

At this point the set comes to a minor crossroads, threatening to lose momentum, but then Tejada’s big riff kicks in, Chab‘s guest J.D. Davis brings a singalong female vocal to the fore and everything’s hunky dory.

Tomiie’s broad, unhurried development continues, and he winds up with a couple of electro house tunes, not afraid to betray their ’80s influences.

My only criticism of this mix would be the occasional slowing of pace, where you feel things could be driving forward a bit more, but that is soon forgotten with the quality on offer. In keeping with the cooler end of NY house, it brings a ‘less is more’ approach to the dancefloor, not to mention some mighty good hooks and beats. As a bonus it can double as a nocturnal treat for kicking back, or something to start your preparations for a night out. Top stuff!

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Satoshi Tomiie – ES-B