Sound Pellegrino’s Crossover Series, our special line of EPs dedicated to pairing producers from different scenes together on a musical project, has always been about highlighting bonds between styles that might not appear at first listen but that connect musical movements on the big web of the House Nation. For this third installment we asked ourselves what would be the common core that tied together our dear French touch (and its modern incarnations) with UK vibes of Garage-ian descent we’ve been obsessed with since the beginning of Sound Pellegrino. The answer lied in the depths of New Jersey, where house mastermind Todd Edwards invented his signature style of bouncing drums, uplifting harmonies and cut-up samples. A style that later gave birth to a plethora of Todd-inspired producers/disciples across the world, notably in the UK in the late 1990s. But what sealed Todd’s status as a member of House royalty was also his collaboration with Daft Punk on the track “Face To Face” from their 2001 album ‘Discovery’. Todd is actually the lead singer on “Face To Face”, and he hadn’t been featured so prominently on a track since. In our camp, Surkin was always the big Todd Edwards admirer, he already had the opportunity to get remixed by Todd on his “Next Of Kin” single but the creation of the Crossover Series motivated us to put them in a studio and see what came out of it, with the secret ambition to get Todd to sing again on a Surkin beat.
We connected with the extremely lovable Todd in person in L.A. via our friend Mike B, then Surkin arranged a gig for him in Paris at one of his Marble nights, and next thing you know the two of them where in Surkin’s studio together working on tracks for a couple of days. At that time we could have never imagined the incredible strength and the overload of pure pop bliss that would eventually come out of that session. Not only did Todd pick up the mic again, but on “I Want You Back”, Surkin transformed himself into the ultimate Acid R&B producer and laced him with a future milestone. As expected, Todd Edwards’ vocals about lost love are imperial, touching, timeless, sad but at the same time motivational, as pure modern Soul should be.
But let the sweaty decadent aura of basement dancefloors not be forgotten by this holy alliance! “This Way” combines classic Todd Edwards joyful grainy production with Surkin’s straight-to-the-point repetitive efficiency, injecting slight doses of Techno masculinity in an otherwise bucolic, feminine, almost handbag-ish House number, creating a unique fusion of styles that will melt your little raver brain.
“Mighty Love” channels the same kind of style fusion but this time it’s the French touch heritage that quietly takes over evoking hints of Cassius and Stardust at times, as well as a certain Roulé feel, but free from redundant cheesy French touch clichés. Definitely a possible evolution of late 90s french styles in an alternate future.