NIXWAX – A Retrospective

Please note, Nixwax isn’t just some gunk you rub on your boots, although it is sure to get them stomping. Formed in 2011 by three aficionado music lovers, Nixwax have got off to a great start with a flurry of EP’s showcasing the unique talents of their in-house artists. Having recently celebrated their 1st birthday, the label decided a celebratory release was in order. The resultant “NIX005” is a collaborative effort of the Nixwax artists; Behr, Kris La Vey, OJsmooth and Joonipah – and their four vibrant, soulful cuts admirably showcases this labels effort to act as a conduit for the “crossover” between UK Bass, Deep-House and Disco. As with all their previous releases NIX005 is only available on highly limited coloured vinyl, if you hurry you can get it here.

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Shake It Down
From the loins of twosome BEHR, this is arguably the stand out track on this release. It caught my attention as I had been working with the same vocals the day I heard it (Marvin Gaye – Got to Give It Up, Pt. 1) albeit in a very amateur capacity. The stuttering intro is interspersed with enticing snippets of the warm synths yet to come and shuffling drums keep it bouncing along satisfyingly from start to end. Gaye’s reverberating falsetto brings an ethereal quality to the track which is complemented perfectly by a crushing kick to test speaker cones from Belfast to Berlin. I can certainly see this one being played out at future parties too and not just by the Germanic duo who produced it.

An up and coming Geordie youngster is behind this piece. Moody chords leave the listener anticipating, as the the title reveals, being lifted up. Wandering, extraterrestrial layers of synths are chopped expertly together with male vocals urging us to ‘elevate’. From the break down, the track builds back to the plodding bass line which grooves inexorably forwards. Haunting organs are coupled with laid back percussion loops to provide us with a deep and sensual experience. The vocals complete a sense of other worldliness, of something different, which is exactly what Joonipah has turned out. Howay man!

The aptly named OJsmooth delivers this track. His signature percussive intro is full of off-beat snares and kicks that draw the listener in before unleashing a thumping bass as vigorous as it is deep. We are even treated to some sparse silky vocals. Varied and effervescent sounding drums are the captivating mainstay of CFC. At the breakdown OJsmooth brings ups the atmosphere with layers of textured percussion and crystalline chiming. This builds to a a heavy bass driven track which, when combined with some garage-esque hi-hats, assaults the ears in the best possible way.

Kris Le Vay’s opening bars woo the listener with resonating strings, meshed with metallic percussion reminiscent of a more industrial Techno sound. He creates a haunted feel before spoiling us with a churning bass line which brings back memories of ever changing acid-style lines. This is done with the utmost subtlety, teasing out those nostalgic feelings of yesteryear and all-the-while retaining a modern feel. The bass line eventually evolves into a real banger which if played out in a club, would most likely result in the crowd losing it.

Nixwax have been kind enough to provide Flux with an exclusive mix from their very own Kris Le Vay. He competently demonstrates the label’s House foundations, straying far from the boring side of DJ mixes. It’s fresh off the decks and 40 minutes long, chock full of scorching new releases. It just goes to show that the label is harboring some burgeoning talent behind the decks, as well as in the studio.

Kris Le Vay Flux Exclusive Mix

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Lindstrom – Raakost
Huxley – William’s Trainers
Kris Le Vay – Rise
Kris Le Vay – Rise (Mario Robles Remix)
Tanzlife – Cold Fire
Kris Le Vay – See It Through
Joonipah – Trapdoor
Mosca – Eva Mendez
Gerd – The NY House Trak
Shane Linehan – Do You Know Who You Are?
Dusky – Mystics
Placeholder – Don’t You Know

The label seems to have clung fast to the founders’ ideals by disseminating records that sound contemporary without trying too hard to be fashionable. The fledgling imprint has, in its first year, put out releases of real substance and thrown a remarkable party in true Nixwax spirit. They are clearly as passionate about getting affable, eclectic House music out in the open as the producers are about crafting these sonic delights. Nixwax has rallied adept artists to its cause and their latest release confirms this, oozing accessible sophistication and offering much more than just beats, bass and M1 organ samples. These fellas have laid down a solid core of early cuts on which to build an exciting future.

Speaking of festivities, here is some fabulous footage of Nixwax’s 1st Birthday at Plan B in Brixton. All slow motion, morphing stills and the orange and green of hard-worn cue buttons. Well worth a view.

Hungry for more? Then hurry over to Nixwax’s soundcloud where you will find all their past releases. You can also check out their epic collection of 27 mixes available for free through iTunes. Plenty of proper music with which you can fill up your smart phone. Also, being the generous types that they are, Nixwax provide a free download with each record they put out. This time it’s a Mario Robles remix of Kris Le Vay’s track ‘Rise’