Jenifa Mayanja and Jus-Ed: "Dark Matter"/"Slammer" (EDJ)
Deep beats from a house-music power couple
Tue Nov 1 2011
Time Out Ratings :<strong>Rating: </strong>4/5
Jus-Ed and his Underground Quality label have long operated a bit under the radar in his native tristate area—though not in Europe, where the DJ-producer has played such hallowed halls as London's Fabric and Paris's Rex Club. Perhaps New Yorkers are so affected by sensory overload that Ed's muted, often gorgeous deep-house grooves are a bit too subtle to break through, which is a shame—over the past few years, he and UQ have amassed a discography that would be the envy of any Berlin superstar, and this latest EP, released on the new EDJ imprint, is yet another pearl in a long string of them. A-side "Dark Matter" comes courtesy of Bu-Mako's Jenifa Mayanja, the veteran DJ-producer who's Ed's partner in life as well as music. Anchored by a relaxed, lightly syncopated kick drum and spare percussion, with celestial waves of synths and muted acid filling the spaces between, the cut is an absolute beauty, all atmosphere and groove with all extraneous filigree stripped away. (If luxuriant minimalism isn't an oxymoron, then that's what "Dark Matter" is.) The Ed-produced flip, "Slammer," is just that, a dance-floor filler featuring a rat-a-tat drum pattern, great-sounding hi-hat, a touch of funky bass and an overall sound design that's a bit reminiscent of DJ Pierre's classic Wild Pitch mixes. That's not to mention a vocal hook that consists of nothing more that someone exclaiming, "Yo!" and someone else answering, "What-what-what-what, man?" It's deep house as folk art, almost—simple, honest and to the point, and all the better for it.