Azari & III. Can be filed under many genres of dance renaissance, but you’d more than likely find them under H (for house – vintage and neo) and even R (for rave), so if those offshoots of dance sound like something you’d be interested in having a listen to, then pop into the filing cabinet that’s better known as the internet and check them out. You’d be forgiven for thinking Azari & III is made up of two DJs – it would make more sense, after all – but the group’s actually made up of four people. These are Alixander III (decks), Dinamo Azari (decks) and two vocalists, Fritz Helder and the fantastically named Starving Yet Full. So, the weird name finally makes sense. The two sound merchants play under those names, so why not name their band after them? Sort of makes sense.
Since house music first came to the fore, it’s undergone loads of transformations and other little finicky genres have branched out from it. This may be a good thing for some people, if they’re a fan of the different elements that were born from the pleasures of house, but for house mainstayers the genre has seemed to lose some of its simple accessibility that made it so popular to begin with. However, Azari & III have managed to flatten out the bumps that tease house music and flirt with it until it’s changed into a different genre completely. They’ve wiped the surface clean and come up with this debut album that sounds as if it’s been around since the mid 80s-90s, but somehow doesn’t sound dated. If anything, it sounds as if they’ve successfully managed to tap into that generation’s unshakable psyche for quality, chilled-out, honeysuckle-gentle house.
‘Reckless (With Your Love)’ has a pattering beat and muscular, almost bullying groove that works well with the soothing warmth of the vocals. 90s revival, yes. Cringingly reminiscent of something your parents would have been dancing to, yes. Do we care, no. Because of the quality of the rolling beats and vibes that bounce off the distinct, vulnerable vocals you find yourself intrigued and want to enjoy it all the more for the guilty pleasure it is. It’s the strongest track on the album by a long shot.
‘Tunnel Vision’ is about as close you get on the album to a true acid-house, spiteful rhythm. If you’ve ever done acid, then when you listen to this track you’ll instantly be reminded of an awesome trip that somehow managed to induce moments of sheer weirdness that you didn’t quite know how to deal with. This is what the track’s like. It’s a great, fast-moving song, but the eerie mechanical pings and mash-up of the synth adds that little bit extra edge of darkness that you could fall into due to the warped vibes it gives.
‘Infiniti’ grows on you. At first, you’ll be like “what is this shit?!”, but give it a few more spins and you’ll realise that it’s actually a pretty decent track. It’s almost like an instrumental, but the spacey, drawn-out aspects are so strong that it’s a full-track in its own right. The cosmic, underlying bleakness of the short, concise beats ensures that if you’re too young, you’re left with exasperation that you couldn’t enjoy 90s house when it was at its peak.
Written by Rhys Milsom