Michael Ashe: I Don't Know
Deeper Shades Recordings

We typically shy away from reviewing single-track releases, but “I Don't Know” by South African producer/vocalist Michael Ashe is so good it wouldn't be denied. Written and produced by Michael Chihaka, the seven-minute cut apparently made a huge impression when it was heard during Lars Behrenroth's recent South Africa tour. Mixed by Behrenroth at the Deeper Shades headquarters, the track is now available to be enjoyed by anyone so inclined.

Sophisticated deep house in style, the cut complements a heartfelt vocal delivery with a sleek and shimmering pulse, and words like soulful, deep, romantic, and sensual spring to mind as its glorious sound fills the room. Taking his time, Ashe establishes a swinging groundwork for the tune before easing the vocal in with claps and percussive accents, echo-treated title refrains first and outpourings of romantic desperation second. Powered by a gradually intensifying groove, the cut gains in strength and impact with each passing minute (a marked escalation in energy occurs when the piano kicks in) and builds to a satisfying climax sure to have those on the dancefloor surrendering to the tune's allure. I have no idea how many DJ mixes “I Don't Know” has found its way into, but those assembling set-lists would be wise to work Ashe's sultry cut into their selections.

January 2015