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“A force to reckon with in hip-hop and dance”
MIAMI NEW TIMES
"Degiorgio has combined his immense production skills with the sweetest soul music to create an exceptional piece of work"
TRUST THE DJ
Kirk Degiorgio returns with an album that flows effortlessly across BPMs and genres. Central is the As One signature synth-heavy sound which sits on top of downtempo, broken, house and even hip hop tracks. ?Out of The Darkness? is the first full-length recorded completely for Ubiquity (previously we?ve released a ?best of? and an album that was born under the guidance of the ill-fated Blue label) and it?s infectiously positive message bathed in progressive eclectic styles is hard to resist.
There are 9 unreleased exclusive tracks on ?Into The Darkness? including several DJ-friendly club-cuts and a couple of his specialty ambient tracks, there is even a cover of a track from the rare Herbie Hancock soundtrack ?The Spook Who Sat By The Door?. The album was born post 9/11 and initially titled ?Into The Darkness?. Life changes, including a move back to his native Ipswich with life partner Silvana, and the birth of their son Luca, gave Kirk a new perspective and the album changed in a positive direction to become ?Out of The Darkness?.
?All the new parent clich?s apply, it really does change your perspective on life and your priorities completely change,? explains Degiorgo. ?It?s a very difficult period though - the body and mind are resistant to change and after a pretty bohemian lifestyle of doing 'whatever I want whenever I want' it was a tough transition. I stopped DJing for a year and the album took a backseat whilst I got to grips with the new environment.?
From the gospel-tinged opening track ?Hope? which mutates from bumpin? broken beat to thumpin? house jam; to the cover of Weldon Irvines ?I Love You? (already receiving radio play on BBC Radio in the UK) this is undoubtedly an uplifting listening experience.
?My last album came out just after Sept 11 and not only was the world a much more negative and anxious place but dance music seemed to go through a deeply negative phase of gloom. I kept hearing from other producers and artists how difficult things were and they were going to give up to just DJ, or do something else,? explains Degiorgio. ?I could have been sucked into this mode of thinking but having a family to support made it a necessity to keep going and remain positive despite the doom merchants. Maybe I was lucky because during this period I was more focused on family rather than releasing anything or DJing so I think I missed a lot of the negative music business stuff,? he adds.
Taking time for his newly extended family allowed Kirk to broaden his focus for the album. The injection of rap and soul into this album will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows amongst his following, but it is an obvious step from a producer who has never been afraid to mix genres and styles and to show his appreciation for a wide range of music (see his exhaustive music library at www.kirkdegiorgio.com).
?I know it?s rather dubious when techno or electronic artists come out and say they were 'always into hip hop' but my hip hop roots go back to the days of break dancing and body-popping. I used to do hip hop mix tapes using 1 turntable, 2 tape decks and editing with the pause button,? laughs Degiorgio. ?I remember the early rap days of Enjoy records, Sugarhill, etc and later I used to collect labels like Vintertainment (Hip Hop On Wax series), Tommy Boy, Tuff City, Profile, etc I guess I was into hip hop mostly from the disco/boogie era right up to Eric B & Rakim, Spoonie Gee, Public Enemy, etc. Hip Hop in the 90's really passed me by, but when Common, D'Angelo, The Roots, Slum Village, Mos Def, and Dwele started making soulful, meaningful albums I got into it again,? he says.
It?s well-known that Kirk is a certified gear-addict. He likes to have the right equipment at hand, so planning to make hip hop and soul tracks he loaded up on knowledge and fattened-up the studio. ?Stasis (Steve Pickton) taught me a lot about the type of equipment I needed but I had my own way of working and never got to grips with SP1200/MPC60 hardware sequencers, admits Degiorgio. ?Mark Pritchard (Troubleman) taught himself basic beat making over a period of 3 years and that's pretty much what I did. It all came together when Digidesign included the MPC swing templates for Pro Tools a couple of years ago - suddenly I had the feel I wanted and I was using the equipment I was familiar with. Once I'd got the basics it was a case of developing my own sound and incorporating the jazz/techno feel of my previous work,? he adds .
Having nailed the sounds, Degiorgio also wanted the right mix of guests to complete the picture. MC Lacks (formerly Lacksidaisical, Elevator Music, and also known as Ta'Raach) has released records on Carl Craig?s hip hop sub-label Antidote, and recorded for Earth Angel and Groove Attack records. He has collaborated with Jaydee, Dwelle, Slum Village, PPP, and Sol Uprising and was therefore an obvious choice to appear on two of the album tracks. Kirk maintains his close ties to the Detroit community with soulful vocals courtesy of Detroit Experiment/Amp Fiddler singer Paul Randolph who just dropped his solo album on Mahogani Music. In-demand UK vocalist Jinadu comes from a gospel tradition (coincidentally he sang in the same choir as broken beat queen Vanessa Freeman) and has featured on tracks by Domu and Jimpster as well as solo releases for the Bitches Brew label. And giving a future-folk touch to the album is Cathy Battistessa who has worked with The Prodigy and Xpress 2 but is mainly known for her appearances on the Cafe Del Mar Ibiza series.
Degiorgio got such a great response to the ambient tracks on his last album that he had to include more this one! ?There doesn't seem to be much in the way of true ambient music around these days except in the pure 'electronic music' genres,? says Degiorgio. So in addition to two short interlude pieces is a Herbie Hancock tune from the blaxploitation movie ?The Spook Who Sat By The Door.? ?It?s a favorite of Thomas' the keyboard player on that piece. It only features in the movie - never commercially released on record - and there is a lot of ambient noise and dialogue over the piece - how on earth he managed to pick out the notes and transcribe it I'll never know,? explains Degiorgio. ?I love the melody that comes in - on the original soundtrack it?s played by a cello but I patched up a typical early 70's solo string sound on my modular synth and played it thru a vintage spring reverb - I think it blends in nicely.?
Operating outside of London, in the drum and bass stronghold of hometown Ipswich has allowed Kirk to create an album over time and with a new lease on life (and the Suffolk countryside on his doorstep.) He is still Djing although he now chooses to prepare and perform sets using Ableton Live. ?Not that I've got anything against vinyl or traditional DJing,? he is quick to point out, ?But I like the way it lets me focus on re-arranging tracks and adding loops and plug-ins, etc.?
In addition to this album he has a more strictly electronic project in progress for Versatile records and is producing a mainstream vocal project with Jinadu called The Beauty Room. The first single 'Don't is due on EMI/Regal later this year.