From Detroit to Disclosure

by: T.M. Brown

August 16, 2013

Dilla. It all starts with Dilla.

Disclosure started their two hour jam session on BBC Radio 1 with an ode to the Detroit producer responsible for popularizing cascading jazz-and-horn samples in the 90s. For a duo that was still in diapers when J Dilla formed Slum Village—a group that also features within the first 15 minutes of their set—it was a clear moment of perspective and a peek outside Disclosure’s typically manic deep house dance. Even if you’re 20, it all begins with Dilla.

Disclosure BBC Essential Mix

If you’ve listened to anything from Disclosure’s first 18 months on the scene, the parallels between the Lawrence brothers and, well, anything from American hip hop aren’t really clear. Like most house it traces its origins to 80s synth pop and 90s electronica, splitting the difference between the former’s devastatingly cheesy hooks and the latter’s sonic amphetamine. Tracks like “When a Fire Starts to Burn” and “White Noise” could fit in anywhere along that spectrum without too many raised eyebrows, which is just as well since artists who make their bones from behind a laptop are discovering how appealing—and lucrative—that expansive middle ground is.

The bulk of Disclosure’s set sees the duo rifling through electronica and dubstep’s New Releases bin, spinning tracks from Dusky, Native Soul, Hauswerks, and New York Transit Authority. The brothers presence on the vanguard of U.K. electronic music means this is sort of the village soundtrack; the artists they’re giving airtime to aren’t just talented contemporaries, they’re friends. It’s a campfire singalong at Berghain.

There’s a chance Disclosure didn’t put out the best dance album you’ll hear this year. There’s a chance they didn’t put out the best mix, either. Rustie, TNGHT, Hudson Mohawke, A-Trak—they all threw together exceptional hour long releases that could easily pass as superb full-length releases any other year. There are so many great records floating around out there that the definition of excellence has started moving farther out to sea. This one was great, but it wasn’t perfect. Disclosure’s two hours on BBC were undoubtedly great, but, then again, the best thing about living in a golden age is being disappointed by greatness.

track listing

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