Anyone who listens to good house music will have come across a Dennis Ferrer production at some point; in fact you'd really have to have been living under the Taliban not to have shaken your ass to one of his tracks. The man from the South Bronx has given us successful gems like 'Son Of Raw' and his remix of Blaze's 'Most Precious Love', and these days he’s hooked up with talented house figures such as Kenny Bobien and Jerome Sydenham from Ibadan. Ferrer’s path has been anything but typical as far as house producers go, starting out in the mid ‘90s teaming up with Damon Wild as Morph putting out techno 12's on Synewave before getting in touch with the soulful vocals, real instruments and percussion he’s now celebrated for. ‘The World As I See It' is more in the Ferrer house vein, and it arrives fifteen long years after he first began crafting his groove.
Ferrer’s guest vocalist strategy has always been to avoid relying on household names, and ‘The World As I See It’ continues the ploy with success. Unknowns such as Jennifer Morrison, K.T Brooks and Tyrone Ellis repay the faith shown in them with quality vocals on the album, with gospel influences running particularly deep on 'Run Free' and 'Church Lady' – the latter might not be one of the stronger cuts here, but it will no doubt please the more religious house fan.
The conga-heavy, bass fuelled addictive groove of the African-tinged 'Change the World' demonstrates Ferrer's closeness to his musical heritage, while French influences are felt on the instrumental 'Destination'. Heartfelt sincerity comes in the form of 'How Can I Let Go', 'I Can't Imagine' and to a lesser extent 'Touched the Sky', songs which paint a full picture of just how emotional house music can be.
Ferrer doesn’t forget to include the big hitters: floor-shaker ‘Son of Raw’ is now a bona fide house anthem, and I recall Tony Humphries spinning 'Underground Is My Home', the killer vocal track of 2006, at The Garden Party here in Ireland to great effect. For fans of more uptempo beats there's 'Transitions' the closest thing to Ferrer’s electronic side on the album; possessing a similar vibe to 'Sandcastles', it’ll be capable of moving any dancefloor.
Also included is a bonus disc with extra goodies such as an instrumental version of 'Underground Is My Home', more Afro-beat flavas on 'Dem People Go' and ‘Reach for Freedom’, a track straight from the soulful house stable King Street, an imprint which has released many Ferrer cuts.
It's hard to find any bone of contention on an album which covers so many angles: you’ve got rhythm, fat basslines and also that soul which is almost as good as Momma's sweet potato pie. So where's the catch you might ask? The catch is there is no catch - when a house producer of this ilk finally puts all his big songs on a debut album, you gotta recognise. If I was to criticise, 'P 2 Da J' sounds quite static, but in an age where Ableton and hundreds of producers flood the market with soundalike minimal house tracks, this album shows that real house music just cant be beaten. With the world a dark place right now, expressions of emotion through music are as vital as ever.
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Tracklist: Dennis Ferrer - The World As I See ItCD 1
1. Church Lady
2. Touched The Sky
3. P 2 Da J
4. Underground Is My Home
5. How Do I Let Go
6. I Can't Imagine
7. Son Of Raw
9. Run Free
10. Change The World
1. Drumstick And A Light Fixture
2. Underground Is My Home (Instrumental)
3. Hit It Off
4. Dem People Go
5. Reach 4 Freedom
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