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- By Design by Sir Stephen
6/10 Ant Staff review, 21 July 2011
Some retro house moves are the order of the day kicking off the A-side By Design which is massively in debt to Kevin Saunderson's eternal classic Inner City project. It's all very well executed, but I love oldskool house and really don't see the point in this homage as this style has been done to death a zillion times before. 'Move That Body' rather than being the aforementioned homage is a full on aping of 'Good Life', again it's nicely done and there's synth strings that play the melody to Kraftwerk's 'Computer Love'. Now I don't have any problem at all with records that aren't doing anything new (like Legowelt doing Chicago style tracks for example) but this is just too derivative for my tastes and so I don't feel the need to own this record based on these two cuts. Let's see what's occurring on the flip…Now this is a little more like it, again all three tracks here are firmly rooted in early 90's house with a tasty baseline and overall vibe that reminds me of some of FSOL's housier productions, elements of early Baby Ford, Network Records, etc. The last tune NY Boogie is like oldskool NY freestyle/electro on the 'Planet Rock' tip but way silkier. There's plenty of heart and soul lingering in every tune here but ultimately I'm confused about how I feel about this record. It feels like it's arrived too late but yet it's intentionally and unashamedly retro.
10/10 notforposers Customer review, 12th June 2013
Sir Stephen's music came to my attention via this EP and I feel this release and the followup, "House of Regalia", were highly misunderstood. Though it takes you back in time... it was perhaps the most ahead of it's time in years. I too initially dismissed it as a significant contribution to the progress of House and Techno music, but in this case I think the Artist got the last laugh as it remains among my most played and revered 12"s in my entire collection... and NEVER fails to excite a crowd of ANY size or variety. With so much pointless derivative music floating about... most of it quite bland... this Album is has an enduring quality that almost creates a sub-genre unto itself. The production quality and subtle attention to detail is, in its own way, unparalleled in Dance music today. I believe Sir Stephen knew exactly what he was doing by delivering an album, though highly indebted to those before him, that is the very definition of "timeless". In summation, this record transcends any trend or derivation by clearly sweeping any competition in terms of production value, genuineness, and widespread appeal to both techno academics and club-heads the same... delivering the very essence of the musical period it evokes - a common love for honest, thought provoking yet viscerally shockingly dope dance music. This EP is one for textbooks... layer upon layer of outrageous style and unmatched substance made cleverly "By Design" for both jaded techo-elitists and clueless dancers alike to whom it is a punch to the gut. I just hope enough people get a chance to hear this devilishly hedonistic and classic record that you may want to hate in theory, but ultimately embrace for its sophistication and nearly blinding honesty t. An undeniable stroke of genius in the truest sense.
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