Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Into the Night: Resurrecting the Garage with Azari & III, LIVE

First published in Loud And Quiet

Azari & III at White Heat, Madame Jojo's
November 1st 2011


Some tech-savvy good samaritan recently ripped and uploaded a BBC radio documentary about house music grandaddy Larry Levan, which included a four-hour live set recorded at the Paradise Garage in 1979. Rescued from obscurity, that tape is a vivid snapshot of the emerging scene, featuring soaring live vocals from underground legends Sylvester and Loleatta Jackson. And just when you think “they don't make 'em like that anymore,” Azari & III are in town to squeeze the sweat from your pores through the ol' fashion magic of analogue.

Yin meets yang in the voices of C├ędric Gasaida (silkily purring in a fur hat and teeny-tiny white jeans) and Fritz Helder (streaming sweat and rasping dirty talk in a skin-tight suit), while the eponymous Azari and III lurk just behind, pushing an ‘80s template through a prism of contemporary ballroom house, trash-fash electro and luscious space disco. It's a wholly un-ironic resurrection of the extroverted, ecstatic, near-spiritual magic of prototype house, and along with that rip-roaring podcast it's the closest any born-in-the-Eighties kids are ever gonna get to the Paradise Garage. Whooping and perspiring, the congregation confers something genuine and majestic onto the glossy perfection of ‘Reckless (With Your Love)’ and ‘Into The Night’.

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