“I cut my teeth as a DJ playing whatever gigs I could get,” Eli Escobar told 5 Mag’s Czarina Mirani in a cover story a couple of years ago. “And playing for the crowd that was there.”

That ecumenical training has served him well. With little fanfare preparing the way, Eli Escobar’s latest album Last Summer came as something of a surprise – a pleasant one, as Last Summer grabs you by the hand on a passage through 30 years of New York City night clubs, house parties and basement jams.

Last Summer reminds me of the one man masterpieces being pumped out by beatmakers around the country and dropped on bandcamp for a discriminating audience. House producers are often trying to make their records sound big – bigger than one guy with a laptop and a few select pieces of gear. Last Summer on the other hand harnesses the intimacy of those lo-fi downtempo Einsteins – an honesty, an authenticity – and the skills of one of the best house artists in America.

Among the highlights: “(All Night) Rhythm” – a raw as fuck acid track which is kinda similar – and I think this is the first time I’ve ever made this comparison – to indigenous Chicago house legend Marcus Mixx. This settles well with other thumpin’ tracks like “Tonight (Boy)” in contrast with the slow and sensual downtempo R&B of “Rain” and “Blue (Holdin’ On).”

Escobar is one of those producers that’s constantly learning and constantly surprising. Maybe it’s a quest for knowledge, maybe it’s boredom, but the proving grounds are colorful albums and records like this one.

Eli Escobar: Last Summer / Night People NYC
1. Eli Escobar: Intro (00:35)
2. Eli Escobar: Flashing Lights (06:34)
3. Eli Escobar: Interlude 1 (02:04)
4.Eli Escobar: (All Night) Rhythm (05:40)
5.Eli Escobar: Rain (06:17)
6. Eli Escobar: Last Night (05:45)
7. Eli Escobar: Tonight (Boy) (05:58)
8. Eli Escobar: Interlude 2 (00:45)
9. Eli Escobar: Blu (04:50)
10. Eli Escobar: Sensation (05:50)
11. Eli Escobar: Interlude 3 (00:51)
12. Eli Escobar: Get Over (Reprise)



HEAVY: Originally published in 5 Mag issue 178 featuring Crystal Waters & Hifi Sean, Dirt Crew Recordings, John Simmons & more. Help support 5 Mag by becoming a member for just $1 per issue.