Justin Harris

Home Taping Is Killing Music

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Justin Harris is dangerously close to making house music interesting again. As one half of Freaks, with partner Luke Solomon he has released two albums of rich, sophisticated house that proves music doesn't have to be boring to be mature. For his debut mix CD, Harris looks across the map for tracks made with the same masterful strokes as his own, only to discover that a majority of them were hiding in his own backyard. So while American Julius Papp provides a guitar loop on "Libido" that is sweeter than honey but never so arrogant as to get stuck in your head, and L.A.'s Doc Martin remembers to put the house in his tech-house, the disc is predominantly filled with releases from Harris and Solomon's Music for Freaks label. There is also a healthy selection of tracks from the quickly becoming legendary Classic Music Company, run by Solomon and Derrick Carter. The mix is infinitely layered, so much so that track demarcations do little to identify which of three possible records (the previous, current, or next) is actually catching your ear. In fact, it's probably a little bit of all of them, meaning that not just any Joe Cool can buy these records and make them sound like this. So aside from the wonderful vocal on Slow Supreme's "Green Tea," which calls out for "that certain feeling," it is risky to give individual praise. It is simply enough to say that Justin Harris has one off the most gifted ears in house music. Thankfully, he uses his abilities not to overwhelm listeners, but to give them exactly what they need, even if it's a spontaneous acid line that no one expected.

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