Julio Bashmore

Knockin' Boots

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The road traveled from 2009 through 2015 by Mathew Walker, the dance music producer known as Julio Bashmore, was full of surprises, some bumps, and a few thrills. Among Walker's greater achievements during this period were "Au Seve" (an unexpected underground hit), "Battle for Middle You" (a Mass Production-sampling synthesis of classic house and Bristol bass), and a handful of tracks he either produced or co-produced for Jessie Ware's Mercury Prize-nominated Devotion. Walker came off as a middlebrow recontextualist of assorted past and contemporary underground dance music styles. No matter how well his tracks worked on dancefloors, each one was liable to prompt a string of precedents rattled off by knowledgeable listeners. Even the title of Walker's debut album is lifted, a euphemism taken to the mainstream by early-'90s rap and R&B acts Candyman and H-Town. Knockin' Boots, which sports the logo of Walker's Broadwalk label but is distributed by Sony -- a sign of the producer's considerable clout and commercial promise -- is tidier than any given bundle of his 12" releases. It doesn't deviate from the producer's past approach, as it alternates between hard and purposefully crude tracks and relatively atmospheric material that is more detailed and song-oriented. The collaborations with vocalists win out. They're highlighted by the delightfully prickly "Let Me Be Your Weakness," featuring a yearning vocal from Bixby, that isn't far from prime Hercules & Love Affair, along with the sweetly Sam Dew-fronted "Holding On," enhanced with tugging strings sampled from disco master Patrick Adams. While Walker doesn't push his sound forward that much, little of what's here is forgettable, and it's all constructed with a good time in mind.

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