As far as Boston’s contribution to house music is concerned, it’s pretty safe to say John Barera is the next artist to follow the footsteps of Soul Clap, Kon, and Armand Van Helden as far as the offshore impact of his music is concerned. But don’t take my word for it. Or even that of Resident Advisor, FACTmag, Fabric, Boiler Room, and other notable features he has gotten in the past year. For Barera, his music does the talking. Something largely unchanged since before he had status and before he had a pager (or, ahem, Prophet and Juno synths).
Still reeling in the effects of his Graceless album he co-produced with Will Martin, 2015 is shaping up to be a significant year for Barera. And it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy honestly.
Last April Zakim released the John Barera and Friends EP, which not only showcased Barera’s talent as an artist but also as a collaborator. Working in the studio with Ali Berger and Baltimoroder on that release proved to be a fruitful venture, as the vinyl sold swiftly and was well-received locally.
I’m happy to announce Barera is returning to Zakim in 2015 with the Sheffield Scene EP. And not only are Berger and Baltimoroder back in tow as well, but also Anton M, Walter Merlin Jones, and others. The Sheffield Scene EP expands Barera’s resume with four tracks of honest and straightforward house music. A great way to start the year on a high note.
The opening track ‘Gathering’ (with Anton M) is a sun-drenched ode to the classic sound of a Chicago house from the mid-1980s. With a feel-good chord progression and an underlying acid motif, ‘Gathering’ can be played just about anywhere. ‘Stepping Out’ (with Ali Berger) sports a similar cadence, kept in sync with Berger’s signature blend of vintage drum machines and outboard gear.
On the flip side, we have two improvisational pieces. ‘Loan Shark’ (with Baltimoroder) opens up the sonic palette with a broken beat, an arpeggio, and lots of breathing room. And finally, we have the title track with Walter Merlin Jones (DFA, Westbound Music), entirely a live jam that never even touched a sequencer! As noted by Barera himself, ‘(The title track) Sheffield Scene was recorded live and focuses on the synth interplay between Barera and Jones. Barera also played some drum sets. The session was engineered by Jesse Allen and features additional electronic percussion from Jide Max and handclaps from Bob Diesel, Weezy, and everyone else.’
Sheffield Scene is raw, uncut, and uncompromising. I’m confident these tracks will stand the test of time and am looking forward to future output from everyone involved in its making.
Stream all four tracks from Sheffield Scene below, and you can purchase the 12’ single on Bandcamp. As per usual, it’s a limited run of 100 copies so move quickly!