Boxed Out


Dirt Crew presents a the debut album from Detroit Swindle aka Lars Dales and Maarten Smeets. Their tremendous rise in the house scene was noted in DJ Mag's "Making a splash in 2013" section and from there it just went off. They have been laying it down across the UK, Ireland and the European mainland every weekend for the past two years, gaining much respect with both their DJ and Live sets. 2014 is going to be even busier, with tours planned in the USA, Australia, Asia and South Africa, where they have an exceptionally large fan base. After some very successful EPs on Freerange, Tsuba, their own label Heist and of course Dirt Crew Recordings, plus numerous remixes on labels like Greco Roman, Club Mod, Jalapeno and Room With A View, Dirt Crew felt that now is the time for the Detroit Swindle debut album. So here it is: a 13-track symphony of DS flavors. It has everything you would expect from the Swindles, some slow-burners with a hint of disco, some deep house, some banging club monsters and hey, even some leftfield hip-hop jams. The album opens with "B.Y.O.," a track that balances nicely between the DS shuffle and an old school New York-style block party. The track is a taste of things to come for the rest of the album, hinting towards a big party vibe, but mellow enough to make it a really interesting listen. The one thing Detroit Swindle are known for best is their knack for picking the right vocals. For Boxed Out, they came up with some perfect partnerships. They recorded "64 Ways" with none other than one of America's finest soul singers: Mayer Hawthorne. The track has a lazy shuffle, a bunch of catchy Rhodes chords and a few well-placed layers of synths that give this track a hint of "Detroit Experiment," wrapped up in an almost poppy house jam. One of the other vocal tracks is "Thoughts of She," that effortlessly samples the voice of UK soul singer Alice Russell from the track "Pushing On" by The Quantic Soul Orchestra. There's also the gorgeous track "Center of Gravity" that has Berlin-based, Ghanese-Canadian soul singer Sandra Amarie on vocals. It's particularly this track that reflects the true spirit of Detroit Swindle's music, a mixture of soul and UK garage meets Detroit house slowed down to a sexy groove with some of their trademark pads and stabs. They pushed themselves to explore different tempos as well, which not only resulted in some slow house burners, but also in two hip-hop tracks. "For the Love of..." is a homage to the old school sounds of J. Dilla, A Tribe Called Quest and The Pharcyde, combining off-beat shuffles, a gritty bass line and a warm cut-up soul sample. "You, Me, Here, Now" is almost a love song, disguised in a s(w)ing-a-long downtempo type of track. "Huh, What!," "Shotgun," "The Fat Rat" and "He's Just This Guy, You Know?" are all relentless dancefloor monsters, pushing the tempo to match old school Chicago and New York house cuts from the late '80s and early '90s. The album has a little bit of everything in exactly the right dose, making it both a good listen, and an extremely infectious club album.