Abacus – Relics

Here’s a straight-up classic from the vaults to kick things off. Released on Prescription in 1994, the debut from Austin ‘Abacus’ Bascom  is a masterclass in using a limited palette to the very fullest. There’s little here beyond some sparse 808 and 727 drums, a couple of synths and a delay unit, but anyone who’s felt those chords wash over them at the right moment will attest to its power. Its real genius lies in combining the harmonic melancholy that characterises Larry Heard’s best work with a Detroit-indebted sound palette – a formula that’s often attempted, but rarely with such timelessly beautiful results. He went on to produce a small but solid catalogue of great deep house records, but aside from the Collectors’ Edition 12″ on Prescription a couple of years later, he never really topped this for me.

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