Yousef: A Collection of Scars & Situations (Circus)

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A Collection of Scars & Situations is the debut artist album from Liverpool’s likeliest lad of dance, Yousef. As a globetrotting DJ, Yousef has ignited the world, 1st with his famous residency at Cream and now his own internationally acclaimed Circus. This album sees Yousef finally lay down on wax a watermark of his effervescent personality.

Present and correct is the acid fuelled nightmare ‘Letter to No One’, alongside the snaking funk of ‘In Parliament’. Elsewhere there’s some gloriously ebullient freshness in brand new club bangers. ‘I Suggest’ boasts some gloriously frenetic percussion, jettisoning an illegible vocal against the clunking tribal drums. ‘Equilibrium’ comes on hard as a modern powerhouse of cold clinical techno, whilst ‘Fun Whore’ resonates with the electronic tomfoolery that epitomises Circus, a slab of wild carnival techno. And ‘Anti Hero’ stands as a melodic snapshot of main room intensity, layering futuristic effects over a section of gentle Detroit-inspired chords and arpeggiated synths. It’s blissful abandon and marks the ray of sunshine bursting through the album’s predominantly dark outlook.

Yousef also takes aim beyond the club arena, taking the album out of a DJ led tour de force and into the realms of that murky district often labelled as ‘proper’. But rather than some tacked on beatless numbers working as an after thought, Yousef’s efforts compliment the sound he’s crafted. The haunting space that emanates on ‘Birthday Thoughts’ adds a black undercurrent to the hedonism that ripples through the rest of the release, whilst ‘A Moment of Clarity’ has a warmer effect with its focus on melody, even as it marries a melancholy breakdown with sharp and gritty drums UNKLE-style.

Like every release there’s a story behind the fabric of what Yousef has tried to do, nowhere better illustrated than on ‘Africa’. A holiday in Gambia this year was supposed to be a period of relaxation and escape from the grind of musical solidity that defines Yousef’s daily routine, but instead one impromptu session saw a jam with 3 musicians build the parts from which this dreamy yet powerful groove originated.

This isn’t the album’s only collaboration. The superb ‘Legacy’ has none other than jacking house doyen Derrick Carter on vocal duties, his presence adding a weighty edge to an already superb piece of music. Sounding like a 21st century tech house master class, it serves as the standout of the release.

Scars & Situations encapsulates everything that is Yousef in 2009: skull crushing techno alongside hip shaking house grooves and moments of melancholy reflection bursting out of the madness. It’s reflective of the times we live in, dripping with hope, paranoia and hedonistic allure. This is 21st century electronica in full technicolour.

Yousef’s A Collection Of Scars & Situations is out on Circus Recordings on 15 June 2009.

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