Is 90’s house music in comeback mode? Are new releases by @InnerCitydet & @IdrisElba @officialTenCity @Ritontime and @ChrisLake, @ArmandvanHelden and @ArthurhBaker starting a welcome trend?

IDRIS ELBA & INNER CITY and STEFFANIE CHRISTI’AN, “No More Looking Back”

RITON & NIGHTCRAWLERS and MUFASA & HYPEMAN, “Friday” (Dopamine re-edit)

TEN CITY, “Be Free” (Emmaculate and Shannon Chambers mix)

CHRIS LAKE & ARMAND VAN HELDEN and ARTHUR BAKER & VICTOR SIMONELLI, “The Answer”

Are we in store for a big 90’s House Music Party that we don’t quite know about yet?  All signs are pointing to a lot of fun ahead if these four new songs and even the resurgence of Crystal Waters’ classic “100% Pure Love” in recent weeks on RuPaul’s Drag Race are any indication.  So enjoy this digression from my usual blog posts!

Kevin Saunderson and his revamped Inner City project team up again with Idris Elba for “No More Looking Back” in follow up to the Inner City album release We All Move Together.  Using the stellar vocals of Steffanie Christi’an once again, “No More Looking Back” is an amazing marriage of classic house and disco styles with a dash of early 70’s soul meshed with today’s technology and sounds.  Once clubs are back, if they aren’t blasting this one, then they are missing out big time.

“Friday” by veteran British producer Riton reinvents The Nightcrawlers’ smash “Push The Feeling On” as a new theme for the weekend, with fun interjections from Mufasa and Hypeman, making it an easy sell to today’s audiences while still soaking in its 90’s house roots.  Dance music radio is all over it in the US and deservedly so.

Ten City, the always dynamic duo of Marshall Jefferson and Byron Stingily, returns for the first time in 25 years with “Be Free”.  Not to sidestep Byron’s own solo successes, it’s like the pair parachuted in right out of the 90’s and comfortably into today’s slicker sounds to capture exactly what they were best at with sophisticated classics like “That’s The Way Love Is” and “My Piece Of Heaven”.  “Be Free” is breezy, soulful fun that should not be missed by house music fans.

Like the Inner City track, “The Answer” by Chris Lake and Armand Van Helden with Arthur Baker and Victor Simonelli emphasizes a soulful early 70’s-inspired vocal over 90’s house-flavoured rhythms.  Longtime club veteran Chris, surprisingly, is the novice producer, if you will, among the other three heavy hitters, and this collaboration just flows so beautifully. There’s just so much to enjoy about this song and it’s no wonder that it’s bubbling at US dance radio.

I think there will be a lot of happy house music lovers and club DJ’s if these tastes of 90’s house develop into more of a trend.  I also hope these releases serve as inspiration for producers looking for a creative jumping off point in dance music!

Solid partnerships: Actor/DJ/Producer @IdrisElba creates new music with both @KevinSaunderson & Inner City (“We All Move Together”) and @TheKnocks and @TiggsDaAuthor (“One Fine Day”)

INNER CITY and IDRIS ELBA, “We All Move Together”

IDRIS ELBA & THE KNOCKS and TIGGS DA AUTHOR, “One Fine Day”

After establishing himself as a force in the electronic producer/DJ world over the last decade, actor Idris Elba (after conquering COVID-19 no less) finds himself as part of no less than two new dynamic dance music releases.

The first is “We All Move Together”, the title song from the most recent album by Inner City as led by influential house legend Kevin Saunderson.  Kevin brought back the highly regarded Inner City moniker last year after an almost 30 year absence with the album Inner City Presents Need Your Love, with the new Inner City featuring Kevin’s son Danitez.  “We All Move Together” is a fresh experience, with a two minute spoken-word lead-in from Idris that name-drops every Inner City smash that dance music fans like me adore so much.  It’s this Faithless-like flourish that leads in to a song that blends in classic house and more experimental, techno-styled rhythms that you would hear more on a Chemical Brothers track than one by Inner City.  It works seamlessly, and I’m looking forward to listening to the rest of the album.

NYC dance music mainstay production duo The Knocks bring us “One Fine Day” in conjunction with producer Idris (rather than vocalist Idris – those duties are carried admirably by Tanzania’s Tiggs Da Author).  It’s a complex, rhythmic track that continues where last year’s Summer Series songs by The Knocks like “Awa Ni” left off.  “One Fine Day” is one slamming track and full of positive vibes, about seeing those dreams through until you make your own successes.  All proceeds for “One Fine Day” go to further develop England’s Black Cultural Archives heritage centre.