Since 2014, Brighter Days has been a part of the rich tapestry of Amsterdam nightlife – a semi-regular party promoting positivity and inclusiveness run by resident DJs Kamma and Masalo. On the back of the platform provided by the party, the duo has notched up a string of memorable club and festival appearances, a regular Brighter Days show on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM, and a memorable Boiler Room set streamed live from Dekmantel Festival.
Now Kamma and Masalo have taken the next step and curated a Brighter Days compilation for Rush Hour, a collection that does a terrific job in offering up slept-on and unreleased gems – including a clutch of their own tried-and-tested re-edits – while also accurately representing the sound, style and ethos of the event that inspired it.
Like Kamma and Masalo’s event, which invariably takes place in intimate dancing spaces in Amsterdam, the Brighter Days compilation offers up an open-minded, club-friendly soundtrack that joins the dots between crate-digging obscurities from the recent and distant past, fresh cuts, ‘secret weapons’ and previously unreleased music from young, local producers who have become regular faces on Brighter Days dancefloors.
Across nine tracks, Kamma and Masalo deliver an enticing blend of tactile and colourful house, disco, basement-ready throb-jobs, inspired dancefloor dubs and righteous boogie jams, some of which are appearing on vinyl for the very first time (see Haroumi Hosono and Yasuhiko’s ‘Turquois’, an exceedingly rare, CD-only chunk of deep, throbbing tribal house intoxication).
There are highlights everywhere you look, from the piano-house rush of the ‘Subterranean Mix Edit’ of S’Xpress’s overlooked 1990 single ‘Nothing To Lose’ and the South African Kwaito-boogie brilliance of Cisco The Champ’s ‘Move On’, to the Italo-disco excellence of Hugh Bullen’s ‘Alisand’, and Mr Fingers’ jacking 1988 remix of ‘We’re Gonna Work It Out’ by fellow Chicagoan house producers North/Clybourn.
Kamma and Masalo’s remixing and re-editing skills are put in the spotlight, too. There’s the edit of Discotheque’s 1982 Dutch-Belgian disco classic ‘For Your Love’ and a previously unreleased ‘dub’ edit of French-Cameroonian artist Anyzette’s 1984 gem ‘Baladoun’, a low-slung slice of drum machine-rich body music that blurs the boundaries between Italo-disco, Afro-boogie and proto-techno.
Completing the package are two cuts that demonstrate the duo’s love of showcasing tracks by young and little-known Dutch producers. Peffa’s ‘Routine’, an immersive and emotive treat that blends elements of deep house and Detroit techno, is just one of numerous unreleased tracks by the producer that Kamma and Masalo has been showcasing in their sets in recent years, while Desmon – whose ‘Submerge’ is a woozy, off-beat deep house treat – has been a regular on Brighter Days dancefloors since the start. It’s a fitting nod to what makes Brighter days special: a close-knit community of dancers and inspired, lesser-known music old and new.