The word “legend” applies to few more aptly than Kerri Chandler. With releases on Atlantic Records, King Street Sounds and his own label Madhouse, the New Jersey great has been a mainstay of the soulful house music scene for 3 decades. His latest remix of Bonobo and T.E.E.D’s “Heartbreak” is a true reflection of his heritage, dreamy arpeggios meeting a pounding 4×4 kick head-on to drive listeners inexorably into a heads-down groove.
There’s no messing about here; no frills, no gimmicks, no compromise. A 4×4 rhythm stands alone and proud for the first 8 bars, stating it’s intent with an infallible confidence. The old-school rawness of the message does not, however, translate into the drums themselves. Stripped back though they are, there is an intricacy found within the crisp textures and subtle swing that conveys a sense of modernity. The shakers aren’t dulled and heavy-handed like classic house tracks, the stereo field is full and vibrant, subtle syncopations give a characterful edge to the groove. Attention to detail has clearly been paid in abundance.
What, though, is a Kerri Chandler track without a sense of soul? The vocal cut that ushers in the break clearly agrees. “Heartbreak”, it cries, echoing into the distance as a proudly archetypal melodic riff bangs away underneath. A nod to NYC’s disco revolution of the 70s and 80s, the tight groove of the piano gives the track that special something; the ‘secret sauce’, if you will. As a hook it cannot be described as anything less than infectious. I have probably listened to the track upwards of 10 times back to back while writing this and still I want more.
For those of you not yet convinced, just ask Bonobo:
“I’ve been a longtime fan of Kerri’s. He felt like the perfect person for this remix. He called me from the studio and played part of the remix to me on the phone. It was so exciting to hear what direction he was taking with it.”
See what I mean? Give it a listen, you know you want to: