Cross Step Drag Album

by Irfan Rainy & Rex Leon

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Manchester's Rainy City Music and its sister digital label Freesound present the first full length LP by resident artists Irfan Rainy and Rex Leon. Two of the city's best kept production secrets and still much respected by dance music lovers worldwide, part of the movement and counter culture of authentic and modern House Music.

The new album is named 'Cross, Step, Drag' and seeks to extend this culture of underground Dance Music and its related street dance culture House Dance. These two Mancunian veterans of House music, Rainy & Leon have produced what one can only describe as Total House Music here, if we might coin a phrase. The lengths taken to collaborate with so many unique artists across the globe, combining numerous elements that only artists who have lived this music since it's beginnings could achieve in this fashion and with such aplomb.

The Lp cover many styles of definitive underground House Music and features collaborations with artists from all over the world including NYC’s Baba Israel, Sean Nowell and Richard Padron, Nigerian performer Vera E, Portuguese dancer/vocalist Dora Da Cruz, Brazilian drummer Geraldo, Mancunian chanteuse Maria Marcial and English Italian drummer/singer Vaceo.

The album is at first to be primarily and exclusively released, presented quite unusually as a continuous one hour mix of all the tracks here on Bandcamp. In part so that the listener as well as DJ has the chance to absorb the whole experienced in its entirety. Individual tracks will then be released for the DJs in due course.

It kicks off with the unmistakeable tribal House anthem 'Vodun (The Calling)', paying respects to the loas, the origins of voodoo and the African American roots of Chicago's dance music creation. This infectious groove is as nagging as the bark of next door's dog.

'We Came to Move You' features one of NYC's finest Hip Hop MCs, Poet and Beat Boxer, Manhattan native Baba Israel. Here Irfan and Baba explain many of the dance moves and clubs that have helped shape the history of Hip Hop and House Music as we know it, and all through the medium of sneakers and baby powder on the dancefloor.

Fitting to move next from New York to South Africa, the next spiritual home of black House Music. Rainy & Leon feature Mancunian vocalist Maria Marcial on 'What's This World Coming To?' a Johannesburg/Pretorian styled soul house expression. The doomsday theme resonates with the depth of large grey clouds gathering into Deep House atmospheres and lending attendant weight to Maria's delivery.

Moving along a beautiful gospel song that Rainy, Leon and English/Italian drummer/vocalist Vaceo first covered in 2011, Johnny Cash's 'Singer Of Songs', presented here in the vein of a classic sunday afternoon in the big apple, Regisford at Club Shelter, Krivit/ Claussell's Body & Soul. Already a hit with edit king DJ Danny Krivit, this tune has surprise appeal to an entirely new strata of ears.

'Lighter Shades Of Blue' now oozes you into the lushness of the Jazz House lounge. Here Leon lays down the soft pitter pattering of warm rain, with luxurious piano and synth to float your body into a calming state of tranquility.

Possibly where might the ghosts of King Tubby and distant cuicas of the freed Brazilian Quilombos unite? Precisely somewhere on the Mancunian streets of Hulme, Moss Side, Old Trafford, Longsight or Cheetham Hill for the 'Manc Union Dub', through a prismatic widescreen conjured by the modern electronic sound of Rhythm and Sound. A tune which asks the pertinent question where is House Music without Dub Music? Definitely a song influenced by Manchester's vibrant Afro-Caribbean diaspora and sound system culture, embedded by generation in the city's genealogy.

The story of the black inner city experience continues with 'Snoop's Story' and as Rainy says it is 'an ode to The Wire, the greatest television series ever made'. This dark as hell groove paints the tragic story of the street, be it Baltimore, Detroit, Chicago, New York, Liverpool, Bristol or any modern city where people were shipped, segregated, divided and conquered into struggle.

The gloomy reality is lifted by the sassy tones of Portuguese dancer/vocalist Dora Da Cruz and the next song 'Arrest Myself'. A cheeky composition that touches on elements of the Portuguese speaking diaspora in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde and Lisbon via Zouk, Semba and Afro House with considerable panache. Surely a massive dance rhythm as broad as the world.

Next up is a shift North-West to Lagos, Nigeria where guest vocalist, dancer and actor Vera E. gives us strength on the Fela Kuti inspired ' Smash The Silence'. Knockout Afrobeat power to the maximum. This brand new version features the many stellar saxophones of NYC's Sean 'Kung Fu' Nowell and fellow New York based guitarist Richard Padron.

And so onto the end, the music must resolve, like a good chord progression and it does so. 'It's Your World' touches on sadness with a rare optimism and is captured by vocalist Vaceo just so. Released here in it's very first incarnation and certainly inspired by one of Rainy and Leon's favourite artists Larry Heard aka Mr Fingers. The journey seems to end in the right place with a future Deep House classic for certain.

Rainy and Leon have lived through the history of this music, from its early beginnings in Groove and Jacking at The Hacienda to today's scenario with the ubiquitous reach and global spread of Deep House Music and its Dance Culture. They've been making music together for over twenty five years now, only ever releasing a few eps each year, almost akin to having a personal gallery that only opens very occasionally. What you have before you is a totally bonafide recognition that real Deep House Music is in their DNA.

The lp is initially released a mix of all the tracks available on Band Camp and then individual songs will then released to the DJ world in Oct 2015. Anyone who knows the label which has been operating for two decades knows the music is carefully considered and stands against music by numbers. Enjoy and please support if you feel the vibes.

1. Vodun ( The Calling )
2. We Came To Move You
3. What This World Is Coming To
4. Singer Of Songs ( NYC Mix )
5. Lighter Shades Of Blue
6. Manc Union Dub
7. Snoop's Story ( Ode To The Wire )
8. Arrest Myself ( Devo )
9. Smash The Silence ( Afrobeat Power )
10. It's Your World ( Original LP Mix )


released July 24, 2015



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