By stripping classic house music down to its barest bones, pulling out the pieces that most directly moved people on the dance floors, bringing in the call and response tradition, cranking up the pace and tempo and using sounds, hooks, lyrics and samples to outline and spotlight these core elements, Baltimore Club Music was born over two decades ago. Baltimore Club Music is a young adult at this point in time — roughly twenty five years old. Like most young adults, it sometimes is misunderstood and struggles to find its way in the world. It seeks to maintain connections with its house music parentage while still trying to elevate its status as an internationally recognized, most unique form of deconstructed break beat music. With the EP “Always”, Baltimore to Brooklyn transplant Abdu Ali offers seven tracks. It opens with four tracks, with the last three tracks offering remixes of three of the first four tracks.
Taken from www.abduali.com
As a music lover old enough to remember mid-late80s house music, part of what I listen for in Baltimore Club Music today is how successfully it connects to and re-invents classic house music sounds, beats and chants into fresh listens. On this score, “Already” scores a home run in my book. The best Baltimore Club music tracks always created interesting interpretations of all kinds of music, and “Already” does that. For example, the clever use of classic house breakbeats like the one from Li’l Louis’ “Hot For You” (which still cranks to this day) which appear on a couple of the tracks on “Already” are the mark of an artist with a variety of musical influences to pull from. This sets the EP apart from other Baltimore Club music projects — it gives it more direction and purpose. You feel as if you are taking a journey through a night at the club as you listen.
Photo by Micah E Wood from www.abduali.com
“I, Exist” was my favorite of all the tracks offered and is the star of “Already” as far as I’m concerned. I especially appreciated the hints of Afrobeat in its sound, lyrics and execution (huge Fela Kuti fan here), and it got me moving immediately. “Flat Out” was also fun — the kind of song that some might find offensive (mature language is a staple of Baltimore Club music, and those who take offense to that kind of thing should probably not listen to “Already”), but in the context of Baltimore Club music it is a tongue-in-cheek club banger that releases frustration with its simple repetitive lines. There are also appearances by Blaqstarr, newcomer DJ Dizzy and Kilbourne on remix duty (shout out for showing love to the female deejay).
“Already” and Ali are getting very decent media love both locally and on the underground music scene nationally, and it is definitely deserved. Ali still continues to keep close connections to Baltimore while on his “Motivational” tour with deejays Kilbourne and Schwartz by stopping through the city a couple of times as the three makes the rounds up and down the East Coast.
I definitely enjoyed the eighteen minutes I spent with Abdu Ali on this project, and you can check out “Already” below: