This article first appeared on About.com.
When thinking of House music, one tends to conjure up images of bright lights and big cities… but snow-capped mountains? Well, DJ Harry, who hails from Boulder, Colorado, proves that it’s not where you’re from, it’s where you’re at… musically. Shedding the uptempo sound of his String Cheese Incident remix project from 2001, DJ Harry now prefers a more ambient style of House music. On his aptly titled 2004 SCI Fidelity release “Collision,” Harry masterfully combines the bouncy vibe of House music, the downtempo mystique of Trip-Hop, and the rich keyboards typical of Acid Jazz.
Although he’s switched roles from DJ to producer, DJ Harry approaches “Collision” as if he were DJing, with most songs blending seamlessly from one into the next. Opening with the titular song, the listener is greeted with swirling keyboards and a truly interesting blend of both spaced out lead guitar lines as well as more traditional Wes Montgomery-esque octave riffs over a driving bass line.
One the stand-out tracks of the album is entitled “Shadows.” With its meticulously chopped drums and simple yet effective mallet samples, it sounds like it could have easily been made by a very chilled-out Endtroducing-era DJ Shadow while still maintaining a unique vibe that only DJ Harry can produce. The tune is held down by a great bassline that is both busy and allows room for the song to breathe underneath some of the better drum sounds found on the album.
One of the only songs on “Collision” featuring vocals is “All My Life.” Enlisting the aid of vocalist Lissie, Harry ends up with a fantastic tune showcasing his production diversity and instinctive ability to know when to take a step back from the spotlight. With the lyrics randomly chosen from Lissie’s journal entries, the listener’s best bet is to simply enjoy her voice rather than to attempt drawing any real meaning from the song. However nonsensical the lyrics, this is a welcome step in the right direction after hearing many failed attempts by countless other Electronic artists to incorporate vocalists into their sound.
Although he’s not exactly breaking any new ground, “Collision” is a solid effort from the up-and-coming DJ Harry. The result is a relaxing yet funky album perfect for that late-night drive back from the club. A great listen for fans of Thievery Corporation and St. Germain.