When Berlin's Killekill label first hooked up with Affie Yusuf over the internet, the experience, says the promo material, "was like meeting an old friend." It's not a surprising sentiment: with a prolific output stretching from the early '90s through to the present, his name should be familiar to anyone who's spent time digging through the bins in the last 20 years or so. This makes him a great fit for Killekill's relatively new sublabel House Trax, which, as the name suggests, evokes the dusty aura of the era from which Yusuf's earliest tunes came.
I'm Free, his latest and the sublabel's second release, is nothing if not old school. The title cut rattles with overdriven drum machines and a grimy, undersampled vocal chop. "Affodil's Drugs Lesson" offers the sort of quasi-tongue-in-cheek cautionary tale Green Velvet used to bring to the dance floor, over stomping basement beats. Both are quite fun, but the record's at its best when it calms down a little. The soulfully meditative "All Souls," with intricate keyboard work and airy atmosphere, has an appealingly light touch. And the digital-only inclusion, "Bring You Techno," is no throwaway: splitting the difference between the EP's hefty and placid moods, it stands to do subtly intense work in an up-tempo set.
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Tracklist: Affie Yusuf - I'm Free A I'm Free
B1 Affodil's Drugs Lesson
B2 All Souls