1991 album cover by Hardkiss

Hardkiss – 1991

Hardkiss Music Label

Possibly as a homage to the passing of Scott Hardkiss, the decision to resurrect the Hardkiss Music Label with the release of 1991 is thrilling. Brothers Gavin and Robbie Hardkiss teamed up with Scott’s wife Stephanie to make all of this happen.

Back things up to 1995. Delusions of Grandeur, one of the earliest promos I received in the early stages of zine building and the album stuck like nails. It’s elegance and electronic experimentation in the hour and 45 minutes that contained remixing from Rabbit in the Moon, Drum Club, and God Within—just to name a few—the album was unlike anything else at the time. While The Orb was getting freaky and Orbital was swirling about in their own stew of eclectic electronic movements, Hardkiss soared through the hemisphere of flawless mixing and subtle ambient structuring around silk-laced beats. The transcendence was beautiful.

1991 takes us back to a time before 1995. House music was pure and Frankie Knuckles was pumping the Chicago streets with good vibes. That’s what “Revolution” brings to the table. And while going back to the source while trying to solidify themselves into the future, they lose something in the middle—the element of experimentation. These are pretty standard House songs. And something tells me that their nights in the San Francisco warehouse scene not only fueled this direction, but gives them more creativity than in the confines of this release.

“RetroactiveFuturisticPsychedelicFunkBump” plays more into the drive that Hardkiss developed from the ‘90s. However, it does not play into the Hardkiss as we know it. And what is that direction, really? This is a pivotal crossroads where Hardkiss can go in any direction. They can morph into anything they want to be. “Don’t Worry” gives us a feeling that only Hardkiss can give us as they move in mysterious ways. But the excessive usage of laser funk techno throughout with expressive breakbeat seems too continuous.

1991 is a nice album to listen to, but it’s not as timeless as Delusions of Grandeur is.

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