We’ve been nagging Andy Butler to record a FACT mix ever since the release of his debut single as Hercules & Love Affair, ‘Classique #2’. Four years later, and the boy’s come good.
In fairness, it’s been a busy half-decade for the New York producer and DJ. Hercules & Love Affair’s debut album, released via DFA in 2008, saw he and his band rocketed into cult/pop stardom, and by God did they tour that album hard – in 2008-9 you couldn’t even go down the newsies for a packet of crisps without catching a H&LA live show en route.
Hercules & Love Affair’s new album, Blue Songs, is out this week on Moshi Moshi, and things have changed. Recorded with Patrick Pulsinger in Vienna, and to some extent eschewing the brassy disco tropes that defined the band’s debut, it finds Butler delving deeper than ever into his ’86-’94 house obsession – lead single ‘My House’ is a loving homage to Chicago and New York’s overlapping 4/4 golden eras, while ‘It’s Alright’ is a beatless cover of the Sterling Void jam – but also developing the range of his songwriting, even singing himself on the agreeably frail title track. This an album that expertly juggles ecstasy and heartbreak, the melancholic and the celebratory. With Nomi Ruiz and Antony Hegarty absent this time around, Butler and his trusty sidekick Kim Ann Foxman have recruited young pup vocalists Aerea Negrot and Shaun Wright, both of whom maintain the tears’n’mascara diva-ishness of their predecessors while bringing a palpable and infectious enthusiasm to proceedings.
So why is Butler so preoccupied with classic house? Even his recently minted record label, MR INTL., is dedicated to new productions hat evoke and allude to that bygone era.
“There was an elegance, subtlety, a sophistication to that music,” he explains over the phone. “It was fine art. The depth and substance is unparalleled. I don’t think anything goes as deep as those early Murk records, for example. Nor do you get the opposite. You don’t get to hear people go off in the way Tyree did, you know, going off but classily.”
FACT mix 218, it’s fair to say, goes off classily. Butler – a killer DJ who knows his shit and then some – builds it around classic cuts from the likes of MK and Praxis, but also includes a couple of recent cuts from Hercules and Kim Ann that show how his crew are trying to take that sound forward today. There’s nothing blue about this selection, we can assure you.
(Available for three weeks)
Jax – No.1
MK – Give It To Me (Dub Mix)
? – Shake Your Booty
Serge Santiago – It’s A War
? – Shake Your Booty
Kim Ann Foxman – Creature
React To Rhythm – Whatever You Dream
Praxis feat. Kathy Brown – Turn Me Out
Orlando Voorn – Paradise 3001
Raven – Forever Together
Humanoid – Cry Baby
Hercules & Love Affair My House
Oh, and Hercules are about to embark on a monster world European tour. Catch ’em on the following dates:
Feb 17 Heineken Madrid
Feb 18 Lux Lisbon
Feb 19 Bikini Barcelona
Feb 22 Abart Club Zurich
Feb 24 Tenax Florence
Feb 25 Stadtmuseum Munich
Feb 26 Love City @ The Docks Hamburg
Feb 28 Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld Cologne
Mar 2 Debaser Stockholm
Mar 3 Berghain Berlin
Mar 4 Conne Island Leipzig
Mar 5 5 days off @ Melkweg Amsterdam
Mar 6 Botanique Brussels
Mar 8 Offenbach Frankfurt
Mar 9 La Machine Paris
Mar 10 Digital Brighton
Mar 11 Underground Village London
Mar 12 Faversham Leeds
Mar 13 Mojo Liverpool
Mar 14 Uni Sheffield/Student Union Sheffield
Mar 16 Club Cosmique Bristol
Mar 17 Button Factory Dublin
Mar 18 Fac 251 Manchester
Mar 19 The Arches (death Disco) Glasgow
Mar 20 The Tunnels Aberdeen
More info here.