When they first hit the scene as High Powered Boys, all Sawtooth Surkin & Cool Spinnin’ Bobmo had was an inflatable smiley-face-character avatar and a strong addiction to Trax and Dancemania releases fueled by compulsive Soulseek-digging. Back when everybody in the French scene was obsessed with biker looks and heavy metal sounds, complicated turbine symphonies and sounding as dramatic as one could, High Powered Boys were two young A.D.D. nerds focused on hitting the streets with the simplest most efficient ghetto house bombs via Ableton with no respect for musical rules, yet immense fascination for their elders, delivering he rawest and nerdiest Chicago-inspired grooves with the dirtiest kicks and systematic use of the words “up” and “down”.
Such simplicity and awesomeness proved itself effective as the HPB releases on Institubes became instant classics in the finest and most famous DJ’s sets (Justice, Boys Noize, A-Trak, Diplo, MSTRKRFT, Feadz and many more). The two companions got busier and busier with their respective solo careers but they cherished HPB as a special project where they would be free to come up with simple pumping ghetto tracks, as a recreational thing on the side. Then one day, the two of them decided to move into a new studio adjacent to Para One’s spaceship-looking hit factory. It was a pretty radical change for Sawtooth Surkin and Cool Spinnin’ Bobmo. Confronted to each other’s works in progress all the time, eating together, taking cigarette breaks together, sitting in two different rooms connected by a simple door, feeling inspired, they started making High Powered Boys a priority again. The love for ghetto house is still here but the context is different, this time they aren’t trying to emulate a pre-existing sound, they have grown from nerdy A.D.D. kids into dope experienced dudes with a Vision. This is how “UDON”and “WORK” were born. This is a new High Powered Boys sound, and it could very well mean a new sound for the Parisian house underground.
“UDON” is easy to describe: it starts with a subterranean softcore erotica saxophone with added warping and sparkling noises and builds into a crazy choppy drum machine pattern with heart-pounding bass kicks supported by stuttering vocals from hell. However, comparing it to pre-existing musical stylings is trickier. “Screwed-up garage-juke meets karaoke bar jazz in the intro for a Neo Geo fighting game” is the best we came up with. However, as “new” and “weird” as this description may read, “UDON” seems to systematically be the biggest track in each of our recent sets. The drop is pretty much irresistible. WINNING! There, I said it.
Dirtybird and Night Slugs alumni Julio Bashmore’s “UDON“ remix strips it down and keeps the contemplative melancolic sax solo, adding moody synths, a sweet bass line and fulfilling the track’s fantasy of “Téléchat house”. That mesmerizing bassline is nicely reminiscent of The Other People Place’s track Moonlight ‘Rendez vous’ (an old favorite of ours). Listening back to the Other People’s Place my statement actually not very obvious but my brain associating these two things together is enough of a noticeable phenomenon.
Speaking of songs that weirdly remind me of other songs, I had a really hard time (materialized by approximately 12 minutes) pinpointing which song the melody during the quieter parts in “WORK” reminded me of. It came to me in a flash: Squarepusher’s ‘My Red Hot Car’! Again it isn’t obvious at all but my brain likes putting them inside of the same little brain-box. “WORK” stems from proto 2-step roots but also draws influences from ballroom HA dances and pure new jack swing. Fierce musical inner city romanticism at its very best. This is what top 10 pop charts of the year 3021 are made of.
Last but definitely not least, Amsterdam’s Rush Hour signee Tom Trago delivers a shockingly infectious remix of “WORK”, catching everyone by surprise. Quite mellow at first, the track turns out to have an magnetic effect on dancefloors, driving the crowd crazy like some of the most banging bangers would, while remaining quite deep. The remix is mainly built around an intense organ build up keeping the pressure on like steam inside of a casserole, then releasing it little-by-little. Guaranteed to keep the people stuck to the floor with their hands up for a few good minutes.