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  François K. Deep & Sexy
by Sterling McGarvey

Francois K.From his years DJing alongside such legends as Larry Levan at the Paradise Garage to his residency alongside Danny Krivit and Joe Clausell every Sunday at Body & Soul in New York, François Kevorkian eats, sleeps, breathes, and bleeds history. Emigrating from Paris to New York in 1975, he has played at such disco landmarks as The Flamingo and the Paradise Garage. He has worked as an A&R; his collaborations include a veritable laundry list of names from Diana Ross, The Cure, The Eurythmics and Mick Jagger to Ashford and Simpson and the late (great) Larry Levan. After a release on Pete Tong's Essential label in early 2000, François brings his sleek blend of highly percussive Deep House to his own label, Wave Music, with a new mix CD bound to get mad play in the candlelight as the sheets crumple. Make no mistake about it, the title is very self-explanatory to this album. Oh, it's Deep, but it doesn't tread into the wallpapery yuppie soundtrack that has been plaguing the sound in recent memory like the annoying cousin you can't get rid of no matter how hard you try. No. The disc is a powerhouse. The sounds flow from Blue Six to Eric Kupper productions with a beautiful fluidity. And you'll find out about the sexiness on your own when you pick it up.

The album kicks off with Fluid X's "Change," a warm, agreeable track. It's a good 8 minute and 18 second lure into the second track, the Body & Soul Dub of Blue Six's "Do Ya Like It." Ohhhhhhhhh, baby.... It's possibly one of the best reworkings of a Blue Six track I've heard. Get out your biscuits, people, you'll be soppin' this one up for sure. It's the sort of track you probably hear out and couldn't ID or appreciate it until now. If this doesn't feel like a quintessential Deep House basher, I don't know what to tell you. That is, I don't know what to tell you...except to play it again, turn off the lights, and turn up the volume.

The tempo winds down to almost a self-reflective lull with ADNY's "Omato Grosso." The gentle, Flamenco-esque strings soar over a conga-laden drum track. If this disc were an actual DJ set at a club, you'd be getting your pre-emptive can of Red Bull to prepare for peak hour. Not a bad track at all, though. It's just an incredibly soothing one. Which leads us right into the Sun Orchestra's "Driftin.'" If "Omato Grosso" chilled you out, then "Driftin'" will bring back some of that head-nod and move some shoulders.

Francois K. Suddenly, the fifth track, Nathan Haines's "Earth Is the Place," kicks in and well, kicks your ass out of your relaxed state. Featuring the uplifting, free-spirited vocals of Verna Francis, this is that inevitable track on the disc that leads to the combo. You know, the combo: the block of really, really good tracks that beat you over the head like your button-mashing friend who manages to trounce you at every Capcom fighting game.

And so, the combo begins with François's own "Enlightenment." Guitar licks, Deep, Soulful Vibes, Congas...oh my! Long after you've caned this disc, you'll come back for this one. Even if you wore it out on your CD player, you will play this album again because "Enlightenment" is that damn good. The funny thing is, though, that it's got heavy replay written all over it, but it's not my favorite track on the album (though it is close). The fattest track honors would have to go to....

...."Havana," the Eric Kupper track, which wins the award for the "Daaaaaaaaaaamn" cut on the disc. You must be rocking the white sheets and igniting crosses in your spare time if this doesn't unglue your ass from a chair or your feet from the floor. Ohhhhhhh, mami. This is Afro-Caribbean goodness that stands alongside the finest MAW and Blaze tunes in being overwhelmingly dope. Put it on while you're cleaning, and you'll probably find yourself doing the Meringue while you vacuum. Sit and try to write about it while you're listening and you will find yourself unable to stop tapping your foot long enough to concentrate on finishing a sentence. Having witnessed it grace a dancefloor in the past, I can attribute to the power of this track to rock a crowd. There is not much more I can say to emphasize how much I enjoy this track.

"Havana" bleeds into Boyd Jarvis' "Sunny Days," which is bound to put a smile on anyone's face. With its organ riffs, shuffling conga drums and its synth-y vocals, it's a strong hit in the combo. On the subject of strength, Papillon's "Strong Blend" is the next track, and it's very much super sexy. Itaal Shur (of Groove Collective fame and some track with the dude from Matchbox 20 and some guitarist named Carlos that got a bunch of gold mantlepieces years back) brings it down a notch with "Touch." It's still somewhat uptempo, but it's a track that's perfect for that post-peak hour but pre-finale moment.

And then comes my only gripe with the album, but it's kind of petty and minor. As much as I like Blue Six's "Sweeter Love," it's a little long in the tooth for the cuts on this disc. Then again, one can expect that time and caned-ness have little bearing on a track in Vinyl on a Sunday afternoon, where classics and new tracks are played alongside each other, sometimes unmixed. Either way, it's a sign that the album is wrapping up. The tempo feels like it takes a mild nosedive, but the elevation is dropping nonetheless. The landing is a little bit rough for my tastes, but it doesn't completely detract from the quality of the rest of the album. With Moments of Soul's "Love Is," Mr. Kevorkian seems to put his hand over his mouth and blow everyone a huge kiss as he finishes off the disc with an uplifting, Soulful instrumental. Like a good live set, the disc ends on a high note.

So, should you buy Deep & Sexy? Should you drop your money on this disc? Is the sky blue? Is Windows Millennium a horrid operating system? Am I planning a pilgrimage to Vinyl at some point this year? Damn right.

At Amazon.com

Deep & Sexy cover art Deep & Sexy
Compiled and mixed by François K.
Record Label:
Wave Music
Track Listing:

  1. Change - Fluid X Kevorkian, F./Rives
  2. Do Ya Like It? (Body & Soul Dub) - Blue 6 Denes, Jay
  3. Omato Grosso - ADNY Delano, Alexi/Castr
  4. Driftin' - Sun Orchestra Roger, Franck/Porta
  5. Earth Is The Place (Restless Soul Peaktime Mix) - Nathan Haines Asher, Phil/Haines
  6. Enlightenment - Francois K Kevorkian, F./Burru
  7. Havana - Eric Kupper Presents Organika Kupper, Eric
  8. Sunny Days - Boyd Jarvis Jarvis, Boyd
  9. Strong Blend (Fully Roasted Remix) - Papillon Cochois, F.
  10. Touch (Attaboy Dub) - Itaal Shur Presents Milk & Honey Shur, Itaal
  11. Sweeter Love (Jay's Full Vocal - Blue 6 Denes, J./Trenier
  12. Love Is - Moments Of Soul Shabazz, Kalim/Jone

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