Tue. Sep. 28, 2021

Mi Casa &. Tortured Soul – Come A Little Closer

Tennerz! Mi Casa feat. Tortured Soul – Come A Little Closer (34 Music)

Mi Casa‘s J Something made a cameo appearance on Tortured Soul‘s ‘Don’t Lead Me On’ earlier on this year. Now, the latter return the favor on Mi Casa‘s ‘Come A Little Closer’…

Strange as to how the respective singers of the groups, J Something and John-Christian Urich may evolve on similar tones at times. With the collusion seeming obvious for the very best on this ‘Come A Little Closer’ joint-venture. Eventually bringing Mi Casa to some unsuspected laidback territories. Meanwhile flirting with Disco/Funk vibes on this instantly appealing rhythm guitar driven uplifting joint…

Friendly is most likely the first word comin’ to mind when thinkin’ of ‘Come A Little Closer’. Don’t you think?

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Mi Casa (which means “My House” in Spanish or Portuguese) came to light in Johannesburg, RSA. A threesome by the likes of Dr Dud (DJ/Producer), J’Something (guitar, vocals) and Mo-T (trumpet), they released their eponymous debut-album back in 2011. Featuring cuts such as ‘These Streets’, ‘Heavenly Sent’ and ‘La Vida’ with remix courtesy of Atjazz. As many gems which got them to earn South African Music Awards (SAMA) nominations for “Best Dance Album”, “Album Of The Year”, “Group Of The Year”, “Newcomer Of The Year”, and “Record Of The Year”.

Two years after, Mi Casa released its follow-up, ‘Su Casa’. Its lead single – ‘Jika’ – enjoying major airplay then receiving for song of the year at the 2014 MTV Africa Music Awards and the 13th Metro FM Music Awards. Meanwhile ‘Your Body’ would be the subject of remixes by the likes of Da Capo and Mobi Dixon among others.

Another two years and a third album – ‘Home Sweet Home’ – saw the light. Thus contributing to solidify the trio’s position into the pan-African House Music scene. Seeing them collaborating with the likes of Tortured Soul (‘Come A Little Closer’) and DJ Euphonik. But also Boddhi Satva, Cassper Nyowest (‘We Own The Night’) and Kenyan Afro-Pop band Sauti Sol. The freshly squeezed ‘Familia’ completing their discography back on Aug. 04, 2017. An album speakin’ of which J’Something said“We are so overjoyed that this album happened. Now more that ever we appreciate the family we are. And we’ve realised that our differences once put on the table made great inspiration for our music.” This after rumors of a possible disbanding had been circulating for some time (source: Timeslive)

Tortured Soul‘s origins date back to 2001. Back then, John-Cristian Urich was steering Cooly’s Hot Box, an Acid Jazz outfit which also featured Soul vocalist Angela Johnson. After putting Cooly’s Hot Box on hiatus, Urich composed ‘Might Do Something Wrong. NYC Deep House label Central Park Recordings picked it up, and Tortured Soul was born.

Thanks to the cool laidback mix courtesy of Osunlade, the song quickly became an underground staple at the iconic Club Shelter. It therefore helped jumpstart the development of a full-length disc generating more soulful house. With the 12-inch single in heavy rotation in the New York club circuit, Urich went into overtime to restructure the band’s line-up. The session players on ‘Might Do Something Wrong’ were bassist Jason “JKriv” Kriveloff and keyboardist Ethan White. With both of them being Urich‘s bandmates in the rhythm section of NYC Acid Jazz band Topaz. Together, the new trio forged a new cool sound by blending the freewheeling New York House and classic Disco beats. This with elements of Hip-Hop, Salsa and Roy Ayers-styled Jazz-fusion.

A major part of the band’s DNA, the Acid Jazz is reminiscent of Jamiroquai‘s Funk. But in the meantime, it’s deeply saturated in the contemporary freshness of House Music purveyors. As many people such as Kenny Dope, Joey Negro or DJ Spinna, to name but a few. With Gilles Peterson eventually dubbing TS as “the future of House Music…”

From the very start, Urich secured himself as a power player. Composing the lion’s share of material. Delivering thick four-on-the-floor beats. And using a smart vocal showcase fusing a Maxwell-styled falsetto with Justin Timberlake-tinted lower register. But his bandmates were just as essential. With White‘s killer vibes on the Wurlitzer on one side. And Kriveloff‘s booty-shaking bass on the other to complete the whole.

‘Might Do Something Wrong’ opened the path to an impressive list of follow-ups including Alix Alvarez‘s mix of ‘How’s Your Life’ and the romantic Dance-Pop of ‘Fall In Love’.
Each of the singles impressed the bevy of the world’s dance halls, allowing the band to tour heavily with appearances at clubs and festivals across the U.S. With 2006’s ‘Introducing Tortured Soul’, the band was able to piece together their first album. They used all their earlier singles while also incorporating a few new studio additions. The follow-up album, 2009’s ‘Did You Miss Me’, pushed the vibe forward. Cuts such as ‘Home To You’, ‘In My Fantasy’ and ‘Your Dream Is My Dream’ were all given the 12″ and 7″ singles’ treatment.

Kriveloff departed the group to focus on his new record label back in 2010. He got replaced by Jordan Scanella. Then on Mar. 03, 2015, the news of Ethan White‘s passing at the age of 39 left us speechless. Isamu Mcgregor taking on where the latter left. TS soon after releasing their last album to date – ‘Hot For Your Love Tonite’ – led by the memorable ‘I’ll Be There For You’.

From then, they eventually teamed up with Black Coffee (‘I Know What’s On Your Mind’). And also with Mi Casa on ‘Come A Little Closer’ (from their 2015 ‘Home Sweet Home’ album). Blessing us more recently with ‘Makin’ Me Better’ as retouched by Leanna Yip. Then ‘U Live 2 Far Away’ with remixing work courtesy of Ron Trent.

Before DJ’s evolved into global superstars, musicians carried the baton. Although Tortured Soul‘s intend has never been to rewrite the logic of today’s EDM, they are living proof that the very same music can be freed from the DJ booth.

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