Aquarius Recordings (R&F-021)

For me, Aquarius Recordings was never just about the music, but rather a very clear aesthetic that went beyond just looking back to dance music’s roots in sound and style, but also in visual design. As you can see from the artwork pictured above (which is on the 3 records we explore later), Aquarius was looking to the past in imagery as well as layout and font, which were the same on every Aquarius record I have ever seen. The music on each Aquarius vinyl (and I can only speak for the ’96-’99 heyday) follows the same themes as the artwork: simple, sample based and dripping with disco, soul, jazz or funk. Each track pays tribute to the narrative of American dance music, while still looking forward and pushing new boundaries in sound and technique that would lay an important piece of the foundations for the disco house explosion of the late 90’s.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Paul Jacobs – Untitled (A1) [DISCO 01 – Soul Grabber Pt. 1 – 1996]
DOWNLOAD MP3 / BUY VINYL

I just checked Paul JacobsMyspace page and the latest comment is from none other than former Roots&Future interviewee Hollis P Monroe, who shouts out Jacobs for his remix of Dreams In Digital killing it at Fabric back in 2001. I’ve never heard that remix, but I have heard enough from Jacobs to know how important he was to the disco house movement. Following in the footsteps of Chicago house artists like Gene Farris, Paul Johnson, Boo Williams and Glenn Underground, Jacobs’ Soul Grabber releases (of which this was the first) defined the harder edge of the disco house sound made so popular by Daft Punk and DJ Sneak. And while Sneak and the Frenchmen may have more staying power, from 1996-1999 Jacobs was as important as anyone in disco house.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


George Thomson – Untitled (B1) [DISCO 09 – Goin’ Home EP – 1997]
DOWNLOAD MP3 / BUY VINYL
Congratulations! You’ve just been let in on a secret Soul Clap dancefloor bomb. This looped out disco house monster is by George Thomson aka The Plastic Avengers of NRK fame and who also had a release on Crosstown Rebels in 2005 called Laid Back Snack Attack.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


Back Door Revelations – Untitled (B1) [DISCO 13 – 1998]
DOWNLOAD MP3 / BUY VINYL

While I’m not quite sure about the name of this EP, it was the only release under that name by  Jason Hodges , Matt Dimaria , Shams Thirani, who were better known as Jinxx. While Thirani seems to have disapeered, Hodges and Dimaria are two of Toronto’s most prolific and longstanding house producers, with releases on a laundry list of top labels. This actually isn’t our favorite track on the EP, that would be the B2 cut, but we do have to keep some of our weapons secret :)

Comments

  1. Wes says:

    Ahh man I love Aquarius. I remember flipping through records in the bins, if I saw an Aquarius track I bought without even listening to it. Didn’t have to you just knew that shit was bomb!!