Dancefloor jazz: a bad idea? Not in the hands of Nu Spirit Helsinki...
Jack Mottram, Jockey Slut, December 2000
All too often, jazz-house is shorthand for producers who're content with whacking a tired-out bongo trill over the four-four and scattering handfuls of jazz chords about the shop like credibility-seeking confetti. The steady slew of 12s on Guidance and Compost from Helsinki collective Nu Spirit Helsinki, however, are as far from the uninspired borrowings of fake jazzers as you can get.
Instead, Thomas K, Eppu, Lil' Tony, Kasio and Ender, the core members of the 20-strong Nu Spirit crew, take their inspiration from fusion pioneers of the past, melting down the dusty vinyl of jazz history and repressing it as distinctive, downtempo almost-house grooves.
"It's not house that we make, it's kind of dancefloor jazz," says Eppu. "In the beginning, we were working within house. Now most of us are not that much into house music anymore."
"We're a lot more open-minded now," adds Thomas K, "because we trust ourselves to be able to make things outside that. So many artists out there are approaching music in a similar way, so in terms of the sound itself we are trying to be different with a live feel and being a bit more organic - that is important for us, as a way to differentiate our music from others."
As well as crafting a live sound in the studio, Nu Spirit Helsinki take their show on the road. "There are two separate sides," Thomas K continues. "We have the live shows, and that's something we want to emphasise, but it's not a band, it's a collective of people who are all doing different things and come together to make music - there are so many jazz musicians working here in Helsinki that it's hard for us not to use them!"
A single, 'Montana Roha Jazz', is out now on Compost
Nu Spirit Helsinki
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