Development Music make much of their artists' Manchester provenance in the promotional literature accompanying this release.
Even the artist's name really wants to be sure you know where he comes from. That tends to happen with Manchester though. If there ever was a city which crowed incessantly about its musical heritage: the gritty edge of its cultural canon; its natural superiority to its neighbouring cities (or even to the grudgingly-accepted capital at the bottom of the M6) well, Manchester would be the obvious candidate.
In living memory it all goes back to The Hollies, seen locally as a popular beat combo whose superior quality was always mysteriously eclipsed by the four floppy-haired interlopers from the next town across. It continues via Joy Division, The Smiths, the entire media spree that was Madchester, to Oasis, Beady Eye and to the band most recently filling the flash-embed zones of hipster bloggers: Dutch Uncles.
Manchester's rich and unique musical tapestry probably goes back further than that. Doubtless there are rare examples of rhythmically syncopated spinning songs dating back to the early stirrings of the Industrial Revolution, whose complex polyrhythmic beat structures are attributed by Lancashire musicologists as having been banged out exclusively by lop-sided children who lost limbs to the threshing arms of Spinning Jennies or somesuch. Somewhere between the Trafford Centre and the Ship Canal, there is likely an interpretive centre where visitors are guided through a grim reconstruction of rainy industrial squalor and scowling youths to a centrepiece featuring Martin Hannett's second-best soldering iron.
Doubtless there are rare examples of rhythmically syncopated spinning songs dating back to the early stirrings of the Industrial Revolution
Nevertheless, affectionate ribbing aside, the city has had so many musical movements originate from within its limits that there is actually a bewildering number of options to refer to when a release comes described as 'deeply rooted in Manchester'. Which Manchester are we talking about? In the case of Moodymanc Vs Jamie Finlay, the tocking clave beats, squelchy basslines and undulating synth toplines reference the Simpson/Massey era more than anything else. The single comes with four mixes, each featuring Jamie Finlay's funk-inflected vocals. Garnering the biggest headline though, is the Mr Scruff mix. Perhaps predictably, it beefs up the bottom end, dropping in some additional bass beats, with hints of acid house movement brightening up the treble side of things. Now a veteran in the art of inspiring clubbers to dance, Mr Scruff's heavyweight bass throbs pleasingly, though it must be noted, quite flatulently.
the tocking clave beats, squelchy basslines and undulating synth toplines reference the Simpson/Massey era
Whichever mix, the attraction of Finlay's vocal is undeniable. He has a laid-back delivery that is convincingly freaky, funky, soulful. Building house music around a vocal recorded specifically for and with the producer in question validates the genre perfectly. So much landfill dance music is made with vocals dropped in as nothing more than another line on the screen, that hearing a full vocal track rather than a looped sample feels like an indulgent luxury. In a genre where the producer's time is more usually loaded onto crafting the kickbeats, melody and dynamics added as an afterthought, 'People Circulate' is a refreshing novelty.
Available from Development Records
Sean Keenan used to write. Now he edits, and gets very annoyed about the word ‘ethereal’. Likely to bite anyone using the form ‘I’m loving….’. Don’t start him on the misuse of three-dot ellipses.
Divides his time between mid-Spain and South-West France, like one of those bucktoothed, fur-clad minor-aristocracy ogresses you see in Hello magazine, only without the naff chandeliers.