When I wrote about the burgeoning rhythm and bass sound two weeks ago, I somehow neglected a major proponent of it. Maybe it was because I was focused on the UK and dubstep, instead of Canada and house, but whatever the cause: mea culpa.
Jacques Greene (not his real name) in an enigmatic producer from Toronto who seemingly came out of nowhere late last year, releasing a pair of R&B infused house jams on compilation records. One of the offerings, the jangly “(Baby I Don’t Know) What You Want,” sampled Ashanti’s “Foolish.” Of all the samples in all the world, it’s a particularly evocative one: “Foolish” references Biggie’s “One More Chance (Remix),” which in turn samples DeBarge’s “Stay With Me.” Intentional or not, Greene reveals his roots in one loop.
It’s a pattern that repeats itself over his brief but rich oeuvre: wistful, nostalgic – but never obvious – R&B samples weaved into a warm blanket of Chicago house. Listening to his records is a giddy experience that will have music fans digging deep in their crates (or brains) for the originals that drive his tracks.
Greene’s New Year’s Resolution must have been to release new material early and often: he’s released two EPs for Glaswegian powerhouse LuckyMe in just the first quarter of 2011. The title track of The Look bounces along with a bit of Brandy’s “I Wanna Be Down.” The rest of the record is similar soulful house, along the lines of contemporaries Azari and III.
While The Look is non-stop, pounding house beats, Greene’s latest release is sparser, with more room to breathe. Mix Ciara’s “Deueces” with a Burial-ish dubstep beat and open into big, sinewy synths and you have “Another Girl.” Clearly, Greene is obsessed by the same muses as his peers, having remixed “Must Be Love” for Local Action’s love letter to Cassie, Skydiver. Greene gives the same lofty, romantic edge of “Another Girl” to “Broken Record” by muse-of-the-moment Katy B.
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We might not know much about Jacques Greene, but it’s clear that he’s a producer to watch. Check out the sinister tech-house of “Sorted,” grab the mix he did for URB, and pray for him to play the States again soon; would a Red Friday at U Hall be too much to ask?