6th Borough Project - Borough 2 Borough (4 stars)

6th Borough Project - Borough 2 Borough

An artfully crafted album that draws on disco, funk and house

(Delusions of Grandeur)

Despite the pair’s hectic schedules, in between numerous DJing commitments and setting up their respective Roar Groove and Fifty Fathoms Deep labels, Glasgow’s Graeme Clark and Edinburgh’s Craig Smith have still squeezed in time to collaborate on this follow-up to their 2011 debut One Night In The Borough.

First joining forces as 6th Borough Project six years ago, Clark’s best known for his own pitched down, house-meets-disco productions and re-edits as the Revenge, while Smith’s music career includes more than 20 years as a DJ and recordings for labels such as Soul Heaven and Five20East.

While the duo regularly made neat use of vocals, guitar strings and brass, chopping and looping these samples to form the basis of many of their first album’s chugging, hypnotic creations, Borough 2 Borough sees them nudge toward a more stripped-back approach.

Despite its 6th Borough Project trademark honeyed-vocal snippet, opener ‘Our Love’ feels like something of musical curveball due to its sloppy, off-kilter drums. However, next track ‘U Know U’ sees a return to more familiar territory, its entrancing synth gradually rising over a squelching bassline before dropping away, a Prince-like yelp, then heralding its return.

A funk guitar lick, repetitive snatch of female vocal and shuffling beats shape ‘They Think It’s Over’ while both ‘In Your Arms’ and ‘Through The Night’ artfully utilise disco and funk samples to hypnotic effect. With its crawling tempo, twinkling keys and drawn out ‘why’ vocal refrain, ‘The Call Back’ is the deepest of deep house.

‘Back to Black’ utilises cowbells, rising strings and a swinging rhythm to form its musical backbone; the kind of foreboding bassline most often found on Detroit techno productions is the significant feature of ‘Read My Mind’, while ‘F.E.E.L’ and ‘The Vibes’ continue this darker musical theme.

Album closer, ‘Walk Way’ sees Clark and Smith offer a funk-fuelled finale, it’s low-slung, slapped-out bass guitar and jangling percussion later accompanied by a weaving sax line.

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