Aural Dive: Jamal Dixon – ‘Africans on Warren Street’ EP (2020, Nylon Trax)

Jamal Dixon, Africans on Warren Street EP release. Album cover shown. Shared by Baye Kambui on Mental Unrest.

A timely release for the summer. And our times.

Thanks to Jamal Dixon and his Africans on Warren Street EP, I’ve found pandemic living room club songs for my summer playlist.

On the heels of his debut Brick City smasher, the New York area DJ and producer’s creative lion has been fiercely roaring in the face of an angry COVID. Inspired by the spirit of Detroit Techno and other EDM roots, Africans on Warren Street arrives loaded with six tracks of two party-ready originals and four equally-delicious versions by Shane Moloney, musclecars and ohh luuu. DJs and dancers will have plenty of fun with this release.

The title track’s sweat-worthy bass drum immediately pulls you in ears-first as if you’re summoned to a joyful war on the dancefloor — or bedroom, I get it. You’ll remain transfixed on the driving energy and electronic horn fills.

The fills I mentioned are replaced by lighter percussion and a wickedly-grooving keyboard vamp in the Ohh Luuu remix. Like the original, the track’s energy is high, but the cold ending is a tease. Thankfully, there’s a replay button. Big head nod to the Shane’s Acid Dub version, showing off a slower tempo but equally engaging beat. The ethereal keyboards are begging for large speakers, but remain a treat for headphones. A perfect match for your 4 am dance vibes, trust me.

Back” is another percussion-rooted stomper that integrates the American Funk and Soul spirits with West African beats and European synth forms — y’know, much like Detroit Techno. The synth lines and cracking beat bring urgency to the moment.

Shane’s Dubstumental will take you on a trip to the land of Paradise Garage sounds (Peach Boys, anyone?), replete with 80s syndrums, hand claps and that smooth but ridiculously danceable bass line.

You’ll also dance hard to the Musclecars remix, which works from a classic 90s House beat but deploys a more complex architecture. Smart use of conga breaks and beat transitions gives the tune the right balance for today’s parties. 

The core of Africans on Warren Street is Afrofuturism. As a reminder, Detroit Techno — like House Music and other Black music forms — was born out of economic and social isolation, and in that spirit, Dixon’s EP is far from a cry for help and more like a “Fuck you, we’re fitna dance anyway.” You deserve this.

Africans on Warren Street is on the Nylon Trax label, and dropped on Traxsource as a pre-release yesterday. Available worldwide August 14.

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