While the return of Harvey Bassett last year was cause for celebration, a more welcome return came in the form of Milo Johnson. DJ Milo, Nature Boy or DJ Nature, Milo is one of the most crucial if shadowy figures in modern beatmaking. His first project was with The Wild Bunch, the Bristolian sound system that went on to form a few groups called Soul II Soul and Massive Attack. But Milo took the path less traveled, hooking up with Major Force West instead and winding up in New York City. It took him a minute to pop up again, but his first single for Golf Channel, "Win Lose and Dance" was worth the incubation period.
For his latest 12-inch, the template remains unchanged. Chunky, unballasted vocal snippets lope and at first scan seem too facile. Yet Nature's touch slowly reveals a depth and sense of nuance that only seems simple on the surface. "Celebrate Myself" belts out "celebrate" and the gospel piano line expands into a cascade, a guitar line cutting through it like a fishing line. By the time the drums kick in and the bass deepens, this low-slung track builds up a head of steam. "Let It Ring" is no doubt the most propulsive cut Hamilton Bohannon never cut for Caroline Crawford. (Or maybe he did?) "You can't stop a groove, cause it makes your body move," she belts out midway through, with the perpetual motion to match it, all scratching guitar and incessant kick drum. Another line coos about mountain tops and valleys, seemingly quoting MLK and soaring upwards with the sudden appearance of strings.
(Andy Beta, Resident Advisor - 4 stars)
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