A1. Subtle Body
A2. Nightfall (Instrumental)
B1. The Light Of Jesus
B2. Room ’96 (Recorded live at Room Nightclub, Hull)
Hot on the heels of last year’s Mermaids reissue retrospective, Hull’s deep listening house forerunners return: this time revisiting a pair of originals as well as previously unreleased versions.
It’s testament to the depth of feeling that Steve Cobby and David McSherry can conjure, that these tracks sound as potent and impactful as they did when they first came out – and not just for the dance. Throughout their 30+ years, the Yorkshire duo have produced ten albums amid many more collaborations, and transformed the remix into an artform, putting their fingerprints on everyone from Busta Rhymes to The Orb to Radiohead.
This EP collection finds them at the full scope of their powers: from disembodied mood music, to tripped-out dubby beats and raw house sessions for the club. The title track Subtle Body sounds like it drifted in through the window in the middle of a snowy night. Its layered chimes, looped delay feedback and floaty chords (played on a Wurlitzer Electronic Piano that Steve bought from Bill Nelson), mark it out as an enduring piece of ambient music, and a favorite for film-makers, able to soundtrack both haunted memories and afterparty comedowns with finesse. It precedes an unreleased instrumental version of Nightfall from Fila Brazillia’s 2002 album Jump Leads (named Mixmag’s chill album of the year), and as an instrumental, the chunky electro bass and mix of ephemeral tones and bird-like chirrups are brought clearly into focus. The attention to detail is what makes Fila Brazillia’s sound palette so rich, and Nightfall a certified smokers’ anthem.
On the B side, the tempo and temperature rises, and we’re treated to The Light Of Jesus, a favorite from Fila Brazillia’s 1994 debut LP Old Codes: New Chaos. Atop a bumping house groove, the song weaves together smooth organ pads and electrified guitar licks with syrupy bass and gospel-tinged exaltations from Charles Bukowski. The EP rounds out with Room ‘96, a live house jam from Hull’s Room nightclub, and a veritable time capsule back to the halcyon ‘90s rave days, when the lights were still on, everyone was home, and anything seemed possible.
The songs here on Subtle Body might be a window into a time long past, but they remain in the present: and as long as bodies seek pleasure, and dancers want to keep going til sunrise, Fila Brazillia will endure, and soundtrack those moments for us all to get lost in.