Veteran DJ-producer Justin Strauss, one of New York’s defining DJs since his days at the Mudd Club more than three decades ago, has come through with another solid house tune, this time produced in conjunction with Teddy Stuart (the studio whiz better known as Eddie Mars) for Under the Shade. The London label has released music from the Heels of Love and Mark E, among others, and “A Brighter Light” nimbly splits the difference between the two, lacing the romanticism of the former over the relentlessly single-minded groove of the latter.
Kicking off with a sturdy house rhythm, jaunty bassline, sparkling synthesizer riff and singer-producer Jeremy Glenn’s yearning vocals, “A Brighter Light” isn’t so far off from what Metro Area’s Morgan Geist has been up to with his Storm Queen project: a slight updating of the classic house sound, complete with its frequently heart-on-the-sleeve emotionalism. But whereas Storm Queen productions hypnotize via a cocksure linearity, Strauss and Stuart gradually add to the cut’s resonance via a beautiful synth wash, acid-tinged percolation, dub effects, vocal overlays and, finally, a rat-a-tat snare; combined, they bring the mix to a soaring climax. (For the vocals-averse, there’s also an instrumental take of the original mix.) The EP offers a pair of sterling remixes, with Lars Dales from Detroit Swindle offering up a flowing garage-meets-technopop version, and Strauss and Stuart themselves supplying a driving, mini-epic rerub.
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