Language – In the Lab (Earth Recordings, 1992)

Reissue of this instant British deep house CLASSIQUE.

Like many mini sub little labels of the 1990s, Earth Recordings certainly left its mark within the electronic scene, particularly in the United Kingdom. With just 13 releases between 91-93, the label focused primarily on hardcore and rave orientated EPs, with Sub Love spear heading that with a series of fantastic tunes that fit well within the boundaries of god like hardcore rave playlists and sets. It is certainly a label worth checking out if you’re into that kind of stuff, only a few things to get through but a fantastic set of mind blowing euphoria to enjoy.

And then we get to Language, with their 1992 release, ‘in the lab’. This one sticks out slightly from the rest of the releases, primarily due to its deep house richness, paired with undertones of rave and jungle (only slightly, yet used to devastating effect). This would be their only known release, and much like figures like Mark Goddard, this release was left to the ages, before resurfacing on Few and Far between records as their debut release. Like a star fallen from the sky, where many exist, this one was plucked and delivered to us at a time when we most desperately needed it. A beautiful, timeless EP, one that crosses the dots and the boundaries within the emerging UK scene, along with its homage to the deep house vibes that were permeating like crazy from the US. As a result of its phenomenal richness and depth, this EP will be remembered forever.

First up comes ‘Breakdown Wo’, that starts off with some light cymbals and wee taps, building a quiet base for lovely drum fills and a light yet somewhat haunting synth pad to come floating in. This continues on for a few bars, just becoming slightly more and more hypnotic, before it all drops and a bass line from the deep kicks in. ‘I’m heading for a breakdown, wo’, oh yeah, that was some breakdown alright. It just provides this really interesting gap between the intro, to have it all fall away, and then be built up is the ingredients of a brilliant dance tune. This pattern repeats much more sutbly from now on, the tune has already locked us in its groove, in the most infectious way. It does drop away once more, but this time the bass disappears, leaving just the vocal and cymbals, to make us go through it all again. Close your eyes and just imagine La Cheetah, Sneaky Petes, or your favourite sweat box, absolutely bouncing to this tune. Corrrrr blimey! Up next comes ‘Crystal Clear’, that gets its teeth right into it. This one sticks out as really playing around with the sounds of rave, with the little key line doing a great job at just being light and not over doing it on the density chart. The bass line once again is top, and the drums. Well, lets just say they get it right, perfectly. The balance in this tune is crazy, all these little components work superbly well together. Then comes a breakdown, down to a level of deep yet subtle synths, that really at something, turning the tune once again on its head. Whilst in other songs these changes may seem really crazy and somewhat unnecessary, here the tune just evolves so organically, it can do what ever the fuck it wants, the makers really understand how to move your body and your mind.

Now then, towards the deep hoooooze bit. There aren’t many times in this writers mission of listening to as much 90s house as possible where he stops for a whole hour to just comprehend the somewhat indescribable beauty of a song. That came in the form of ‘Lake Placid’. Starting off with the template of deep fucking chords that dominates modern day electronic music of this kind, these chords signify the drums, ‘can you dig it?’, sending the tune in space and beyond and everywhere. It’s just so unreal, as a audio experience, this song is perhaps as close to deep house perfection as anything. I’m not gunna write any more about it, just go and listen to it. Seriously. Finally, comes ‘Tranquility Bass’. This starts off with the more ominous rave/hardcore synths we are used to, except slowed down, at a more dub techno or house tempo. So much more is done with a lot less here, crafting an atmosphere from expertly placed and designed sounds, before a Real sublime drum pattern comes in, rave lines reverberating everywhere. This feels like a perfect ending, combining it all together under one room.

This EP isn’t just brilliant. It’s not just this, or that, or something else. Its essential. For anyone who enjoys 90s music, particularly the stuff coming from the Uk during this period, this album is the one for you. It has that delicate balance between so many musical developments at the time, and executes its so brilliantly, that its just such a joy to get invested in it and lost in it over and over and over again. Well, go on, take a dip!

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