2013 has been a brilliant year for Bristol duo AZ&TOR. Producer Rich Main (TOR) and vocalist Aisha Zoe (AZ) continue to find success with their well-balanced skill set, giving a modern rework to Britain’s urban soundscape. Releasing their debut EP Sit Back in July was just another step along the road for them following a summer packed full of live performances at established events and festivals such as Ibiza Rocks and Secret Garden Party, with a booking at the infamous Outlook Festival in Croatia just around the corner.
The pair’s distinctive and original approach to house music was recently recognised by the BBC as part of their BBC Introducing series, with their tracks also impressing the likes of MistaJam who invited them to appear on his 1xtra show. They have also received support from other accomplished artists including Wretch 32, Toddla T, Eats Everything and Skream, which has gone on to increase their popularity across the country.
As one of a handful of acts to release on Kerri Chandler’s acclaimed MadTech label – known as a powerful vehicle for a new generation of house talent – the pair have pulled out all the stops with their much anticipated EP, which features remix’s from the likes of No Artificial Colours and Polkadot.
Recently announced as The Guardian’s New Band Of The Day, along with receiving recognition from several notable magazines like Mixmag, The Line Of Best Fit, XLR8R and Wonderland, this dynamic duo are definitely ones to watch. Read on below for a track-by-track review and to listen to Carry Mine, which is available to download for free.
1. Sit Back
The EP kicks off with the title track Sit Back. Filled with bouncing sub tones, the track holds a mellow yet catchy beat with a definite summer vibe, topped perfectly with the addition of Aisha’s dreamy, echoing vocals. The addition of string melodies and progressive piano chords fill the track out, while lyrics like “You weren’t around” and “I thought you’d make me satisfied / but there’s no comfort here” add deeper meaning to an otherwise energetic, deep house sound.
2. Feels Like
Beginning with a slow build up, a mixture of jazz-sounds, drum patterns, winding synth chords and building vocals take this track up to it’s focal point, where heavy bass winds around Aisha’s strong vocals, creating an array of interesting patterns for this smoother house number. Bursts of saxophone sounds add a more organic feel to the track, which juxtaposes brilliantly with the quick leap to shuffling, irregular drum notes.
3. Carry Mine
Carry Mine is full of repeating synth notes, fast-paced drum patterns and elongated, waving beat patterns. Coupled with sensual vocals, the track is both upbeat and sexy with it’s contemporary house feel. The track is completed with the addition of slowed down, low-key vocal snippets and Aisha’s distinctive MCing skills, which come in around halfway through.
4. Sit Back (No Artificial Colours Remix)
Sit Back is reworked by notable house DJs No Artificial Colours, who stamp their signature low-slung, house meets garage sound on the original record. With echoing snare kicks and chopped vocals, the track is completed with copious doses of bass, winding synth sounds and ever quickening drum patterns.
5. Sit Back (Polkadot Remix)
Polkadot goes further to mix things up on his rework of Sit Back, with plenty of electric piano chords, kicks, snares and throbbing bass patterns. With an obvious 90s garage feel to the track, the continuously looping vocals “You weren’t around” and faster pace in comparison to the original gives the track an intensely raw statement sound.
AZ&TOR’s Sit Back EP is available to purchase from a number of online retailers including Juno, Boomkat, Beatport and iTunes.