The 90’s was an important time for Canadian dance music in terms of quality and quantity. In addition to support from dance-oriented radio stations across the country, many artists actually became more well-known due to their music videos being shown on dance music themed television programs like Electric Circus on Toronto’s MuchMusic and Bouge de la via Montreal’s Musique Plus.
One act I was introduced to through their videos on EC was the Montreal-based Shauna Davis project, fronted by Haitian-born vocalist Stephane Moraille. The first single “Get Away” received moderate radio and video play as did the third release from the project, “Try My Love“. Sandwiched nicely between the two was what I believe to be the strongest single under the Shauna Davis moniker and a classic piece of Canadian house music: “Into You“.
The production really pops on this release; some of the nicest house beats I’ve heard in a Canadian track, a lovely Korg M1 organ-like bassline and synth stabs with a great vocal arrangement that keeps thing moving. It has a classic feel right down to the song itself and often gets overlooked when considering the best house tracks to come out of Canada. This one still goes down well in a vocal house set and works just as effectively in peak time as it does in a good warm-up set.
It seems like the tide may finally be turning for dance music after the glut of “EDM” tunes that have been dominating the scene for about the past 5 years and the monotonous formula of build-up/ breakdown/ build back up/ peak/ and drop is being replaced with classic drum samples and grooves. Recent releases from the likes of Calvin Harris, EDX and even “This Girl” – Kungs vs. Cookin’ On 3 Burners all feature vintage Roland808 and 909 percussion elements and Roland’s recent reveal of their forthcoming DJ 808 controller for Serato are all strong indications that old-school sounds are being revived for today’s dancefloor and that’s great news for fans of good house music.
Any good DJ knows that you can happen across great tunes anywhere at anytime and that’s exactly what happened to me last night. Just before heading out for the evening, I flipped on an “electronic” station just in time to catch a huge sounding, old-school house-flavoured bomb that was released just over a year ago through Armada Music. “Daylight to Midnight” arrived courtesy of Night Safari, a duo comprised of house music veteran D. Ramirez and songwriter and former frontman of The Infadels, Bnann Infadel. Featuring the vocals of James Newman and a gorgeous, throbbing bassline (clearly influenced by or played on the legendary Korg M1 synth), the track brings together all the elements that make house music great. The hook is catchy enough but kept relatively simple and it doesn’t some cross over into “cheesy” territory even after a few listens. I’m amazed that I missed this the first time around but I’m glad I discovered it as this one should be able to work anywhere. I hope to see more producers embrace the classic sounds and bring the groove back to the electronic scene that has been dearly missed.