Eli Escobar is one of the workhorse DJs of the NYC house scene, gigging constantly and manning the decks as a co-resident of the beloved Tiki Disco soirees. Tiki Disco is considered by many to be something of a hipster's haven—it is based in Bushwick, after all, which is the latest Williamsburg, which was the new Lower East Side, which was the reincarnation of the East Village, and so on. But don't hold that against Escobar, who not only has a pretty good idea of what house is supposed to do (i.e., jack your body), but also can produce a pretty wicked version of the sound himself, mingling old-school vibes with an occasional hint of electro/Latin-freestyle bump and a healthy dose of disco groove.
His latest output, a sampler from his upcoming All Night long-player for the Plant Music label, is a solid affair, with its four tracks revealing slightly different facets of the Escobar sound. The title track starts off with a syncopated kick drum and warm synth line à la Abacus' 1996 cut "Phases," and layers on a chirpy, lightly-funkified vocal sample, an arpeggiated bassline, electro-style handclaps and—finally—a bit of ecstatic piano-house release.
Things get deeper on "Makes Me Feel," basically a straight-ahead groove not unlike Josh Wink's "Stay Out All Night" (complete with subdued organ line), but with a touch of tremulous vocals, congas, horns and, gently floating above it all, a heavenly synth-string line. "Get on Down," as you might guess, is the disco tune of the bunch, its sonic bed comprised of a bar or two from an oft-pilfered late-'70s number and a woman imploring us to (you guessed it) get on down. The closer, "TFG," could be a Trax release from 1987, with its acid bassline, modulated percussion and "too far gone" vocal bit. Is it retro? Surely. Just to hammer home that point, Plant's made it a vinyl-only release. Is it derivative? Sure, a bit—those seeking an envelope-pushing experience should probably look elsewhere. But the real question is, is it fun? Undoubtedly.
Tracklist: Eli Escobar - Set My Heart on Fire EPA1 Get On Down
A2 Makes Me Feel
B1 Set My Heart On Fire (All Night)
Other Plant Music reviews