London-based producer Mike Norris, aka Fort Romeau, makes his Spectral Sound debut with the single "SW9." It's a warm and affectionate take on the sound of Chicago house, mixing thick analog pad sounds with a 4/4 kick that's insistent without ever being overpowering, skittering hi-hat sounds and an beautifully uplifting vocal sample. The production is lush and multi-layered, giving the track a warmth that's absent from so much of contemporary dance music.
"SW9" is Norris's first release since his debut album Kingdoms, which came out last year on most excellent LA-based alt-dance label 100% Silk. Both Kingdoms and "SW9" reflect a deep love for a sound that Norris discovered at 18 and embraced wholeheartedly: "I think it's really important, if you're in the business of using samples, which I think nearly everyone is, to use them as ways of adding in history and subconscious reference points," Norris told Spin last year. "That's a really interesting aspect of music: you have this ability to take something from the past and put it in the present."
This idea illuminates all of Norris's production work — as a whole, Kingdoms was a beautifully-executed love letter to the sound of classic house music, and "SW9" is the next step in Norris's exploration of the sounds of the genre's glory days. It comes backed with "Love (Dub)", which dials down the drums and steeps the track even in rich analogue sounds; and a remix courtesy of German DJ and producer Jens Kuhn (aka Lowtec), who cuts the bass and accentuate's the track's lo-fi aspects to create a jittery, edgy sonic landscape.