Wax Runoff: Dez Andres [SPLS 001]
This is a special week in American dance music culture. Thousands of punters from across the states and beyond will descend upon Detroit to take part in a nearly two decade old tradition. Whether it has taken the form of Detroit Electronic Music Festival or Movement, one thing from this weekend is clear – it’s about dance music, and honoring the home of one of its founding cities. With that said, this week I wanted to pay homage to one of my favorite Detroit producers, Andrés.
Having honed his skills as both a record collector and DJ around Detroit, Andrés served as the DJ for legendary hip-hop group Slum Village (as DJ Dez) before crafting his own unique house sound in the late ’90s. With this hip-hop influenced approach to creating house tunes, Andrés released a string of now classic records on Kenny Dixon Jr aka Moodyman’s labels KDJ and Mahogani. Following the success of these releases he went on to start his own imprint, La Vida, which pushed out one of 2012’s most charted records: New For U. Squeezed in between these releases is a little known cut off a now defunct label: Spills, that I chose as this week’s Wax Runoff.
My first trip to Berlin’s famed Hardwax records had me digging for slow and funky jams, which as luck would have it is exactly what I found in this record. A simple four track EP with both a vocal and an instrumental version of two songs, each tastefully sampling a Michael Jackson vocal hook. Side A presents “As We Rock On,” a slow and smooth conga-led track supplemented by keys reminiscent of boogie’s bygone era. This one samples MJ’s classic “Rock With You” and has worked well for me in opening sets or when I’m going for a more loungey vibe. Though I play the vocal, the instrumental is equally as nice and with a baseline that’s less obscured by vocals is ripe for a homemade edit. Flipping the record over you’ll find my personal favorite from this release, “A Time to Boogie.” With an infectious bass groove and less of a four-to-the-floor beat, this one is certainly a unique addition to anyone’s record bag. Here Andrés samples “Blame it on the Boogie” but chops the vocals in a way that gets his message across – “Sunshine, Moonlight, Good Times, Boogie.”
Though it doesn’t look like Spills will be pressing new records anytime soon you should still be able to find SPLS001 on Discogs for only a slightly inflated price. If that’s not really your style but you’re heading to Detroit this weekend you can catch Andrés at Cosmic Disco (Saturday), Day Life (Sunday), or Something Different (Monday).
Wax Runoff is a weekly feature that will showcase new finds and crate favorites. Colin Boardway is a Chicago-based DJ who has been collecting wax and enveloping himself into the city’s house and techno scene.