Darkhouse Family – The Offering (2017) [Qobuz FLAC 24bit/44,1kHz]

Darkhouse Family – The Offering (2017)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 46:43 minutes | 534 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Master, Official Digital Download – Source: Qobuz | Front Cover | © First Word Records

Cardiff-based duo Earl Jeffers & Don Leisure come together as Darkhouse Family, releasing their highly anticipated debut album on First Word Records titled “The Offering”. They joined the label back in 2016 and released “Solid Gold EP”, a rich and layered project combining elements of Hip Hop, Soul, and D’n’B. “The Offering” takes the same formula to their style, and have sharpened it to create gorgeous and memorable moments. From the groove and beat-driven ‘Journey of Love’ to the slow and melodic ‘Another World’, this album is diverse in sound, mood and atmosphere. Strong vocal performances from the likes of regular DHF collaborator, Vanity Jay, Jessy Allen, and an amazing newcomer, Esthe make this project ethereal and full of soul as well.

Given The Offering’s evocation of neighboring and overlapping crews such as Bugz in the Attic, DKD, and 4hero, it could be presumed that Darkhouse Family’s Earl Jeffers and Don Leisure are from West London. They’re actually based directly west of the broken beat epicenter, in Cardiff, yet they fit into a London lineage that can be traced as far back as the rare groove scene. The duo’s first album follows a biennial series of EPs that began in 2010. Starting with askew beatmaking exercises that occasionally featured vocalists such as Om’Mas Keith and Vanity Jay, Jeffers and Leisure gradually incorporated live instrumentation. For these sessions, they snared multi-instrumentalist Kamaal Williams (aka Henry Wu), rock-solid drummer Daf Davies, and musician/arranger Jonathan Powell to complement their production work and trio of vocalists. References bounce across several decades. A high-minded James Mtume oration is brilliantly applied to the opening title track and sets the album’s uplifting tone. The nasal group-vocal refrain on the following “Radiate” sounds like the work of Dr. Funkenstein descendants (or Co-Op club regulars). “Modaji Suite” reworks, to sparkling effect, a lazing tune Dave Grusin granted to Harvey Mason prior to recording it on his own. Heartfelt Vanity Jay showcase “Journey to Love,” with its sampled Slick Rick interjections, chiming keyboards, chunky breakbeat, recalls the hip-hop soul that sprouted from new jack swing. Whether citing 1972, 1975, 1985, 1992, or 1999, the album is firmly in 2017/2018, inviting from the top and stimulating through the bottom with fresh nuances applied to the scholarly recombinant approach. No time is wasted. In fact, the several outros — another fine touch — are all distinctive and could be developed into full-blown tracks. ~ Andy Kellman

01 – The Offering
02 – Radiate
03 – Elements of Life
04 – Heart of Medina
05 – Journey to Love
06 – Modaji Suite
07 – Space and Time
08 – GAEA
09 – Just so You Know
10 – Another World
11 – The Accession