Finesse: Elevate
Ecstasy Records

Elevate, the sleek debut single from Portland-based deep house outfit Finesse, comes to the masses by way of Ecstasy Record, a new Portland-based acid house label started up by Nudge member Brian Foote and The Miracles Club. The twelve-inch pools the talents of ex-Glass Candy drummer Avalon Kalin and underground dance music diva Susan Ploetz on a pair of originals supplemented by remixes from Jason Kendig (Mr International, Honey Sound System) and C.L.A.W.S. (bar25, tigerbeat6). The disc's title cut starts innocently enough with an unassuming kick drum and synth motif before open-hi-hats and claps kick it wide open, setting the stage for a breathily seductive come-on from Ploetz. Synthetic strings add a touch of elegance to the tune's oversexed vibe (“I want you to come to me… that's when I elevate”) and semi-ecstatic vocalizations. If anything, Kendig's tight “Elevate” remix is more than equal to the original for being so unfussy and club-ready, plus there's a neon-lit, mid-song break that's especially tasty. The second original, “Believe,” gets under one's skin with its enticing keyboard burble and Ibiza-like warmth; the track's as refreshing as a warm seaside breeze, and its low-end bass pulse only adds to the allure. C.L.A.W.S.' trance-flavoured remix brings the release's classic deep house vibe into sharper focus, suggesting that Finesse is less interested on this elegant outing in rewriting the rule book than in refining it.

May 2011