REVIEW Steve Bug ‘Back To ’95 ‘ [Aus Music]

There are often releases that make reference to “taking it back” to certain periods of time when House Music was more “real” or a halcyon point for the sound; it seems people have been saying everything was better “back then” since around 1991, with artists making tracks referencing 1988, so the idea of aping a specific point in electronic music history is a pretty common one. Such is the case here with Steve Bug’s Back To ‘95 EP for Will Saul‘s Aus Music, this time in a very un-Bug-like fashion.

Turning out a piano-led throwback to the mid-90s, aptly titled Back To ’95, featuring the spoken words of Mr. V the Berliner by choice, Steve Bug, reminiscs his love of 90s House. The track has a very authentic sound in respect of what it’s referencing; the backing track, minus the vocals, could easily have been found on an old Grant Nelson lost DAT with its stabby piano & swinging drums, although there is something slightly ironic about a new release talking about how much better things were “back in the day” and, on this occasion, the spoken word weakens the track overall, so a dub or instrumental would have been a great addition. That aside, it’s a solid & punchy cut for sure and anyone who “was there” in 95 will know that this is, musically, a very close imitation of the real thing.   

Sticking to the theme of giving a nod to the mid-90s, the second cut is titled Ode To Wildpitch. For the uninitiated, the Wildpitch sound was a stab and percussion-heavy style, created by DJ Pierre on Strictly Rhythm, with repetition and darkness being the key. This is a great club track, it works brilliantly as a reference to the sound it’s name-checking, but sounds fresh too, as much of the more stripped-back Wildpitch music released in the 90s still does, due to it revolving around a selection of steadily ascending stabs and deep bass. The repetition of Wildpitch is what makes it work so well and this track stays on the deeper side of the sound, avoiding having any harsh frequencies in its stabs, which some Wildpitch tracks tended to do, with this track definitely benefiting from its “less is more” approach. It’s a straight-up club vibe with powerful energy and will sound immense in a darkened room, no doubt about that, plus may encourage some younger heads to search out some of the older Wildpitch music, which is a recommended choice of action.

Dropping her ‘Just A Vibe’ remix of Back To 95 is Berlin’s electronic-music wonder-woman Cinthie, who manages to combine old and new styles excellently, plus takes the track to an earlier period than ’95, in fact, it’s really more ‘Back To 86’. The bass line and key riff combo is pure Trax, with Marshall Jefferson springing immediately to mind, however, Cinthie adds her own flourishes of filtered stabs, rolling drums and overall polish to the track, putting a modern sheen onto an old-school vibe – a sort-of musical equivalent to going out in your old, comfortable sneakers that you’ve had for years, but with a super-cool box-fresh t-shirt, to show you’re not stuck in the past! As with the original version, an instrumental or dub of this remix would sound amazing, but the vocal is used to great effect here and actually sits atop the vibe here better than on the original. A very strong closing track, showcasing why Cinthie is such hot property right now. 

Steve Bug’s EP Back To ’95 was released on Aus Music on April 29th, 2022.

Words by Al Bradley

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