This week sees the release of a new compilation from Rush Hour celebrating the work of Rheji and Ronald Burrell.
Having bailed from their fledgling career as commercial R&B producers, the Burrell brothers found a home with Nu Groove Records, founded in New York by Frank and Karen Mendez in ’88 – and played a key role in establishing it as a label of serious renown. But Nu Groove wasn’t just about the Burrells. It helped launched the careers of numerous local talents (among them Joey Beltram, Bobby Konders and Kenny Dope), and supplied DJs around the world – not least those presiding over Britain’s Second Summer Of Love – with stick after stick of audio dynamite.
Over the following pages, we pick out 10 Nu Groove 12″s which are a must for any self-respecting collection. Inevitably, this 10 is only part of the rich and multifarious Nu Groove story, and it reflects our contributors’ tastes first and foremost; for every Critical Rhythm and Equation tune that’s made it in, a K.A.T.O. or Bas Noir track has had to be omitted…
Fusing his love of reggae and house into a low-slung, bass-heavy hybrid all his own, Bobby Konders’ first release on Nu Groove is a stone cold classic. Being a dub head, low-end is of paramount importance to the Brooklyn producer, and each of the six tracks here are armed with killer basslines – especially the ‘The Poem’, which appears in both its jazzy, chill original incarnation and the rawer, more rudely jacking dub (titled simply ‘Version’, and afforded pride of place at A1). On ‘Massai Women’, tribal incantations nestle within dreamy, Mr Fingers-style synth pads and crisp drum hits; the 303 comes out for ‘Dub Massai Style’ and the superlative ‘Nervous Acid’. Everything unfolds at a mid-tempo chug: this is house music for smokers. Konders founded, and continues to run, the label Massive B, putting out reggae and dancehall 7”s by the likes of Burro Banton, Cutty Ranks, Bounty Killer and King Kong.