Yunx: In the Heat of the Night
Ai Records

Darren Taberner and Iain Law created Yunx in 1997, with their first EP Bill Odyssey (Void, 1997) showing a promise that was amply realized on the 2004 12-inch Snake In the Grass and is now brought to further fruition on the suave In the Heat of the Night. While the group's merging of techno, Latin, jazz, house, and electronica also attracted attention when “Cyclomethicone” appeared on Skam's infamous 0161 comp in '98, Yunx's pristine sound and robust grooves now get an even stronger workout on its superb Ai full-length debut.

“The Early Bird Catches the Worm” sets the stage in seductively funky manner with spacey electronics, chiming keys, panning voice snippets, and a downtempo hip-hop feel, followed by the jazztronic “Fancy a Few Beers?” where Yunx merges Pat Metheny-esque guitar stylings with skipping electro beats and sparkling synths. In the equally strong “Dis Go Funk Ur Ass,” a multitude of disparate elements—a disco-soul feel, propulsive techno beats, house swing, Latin cymbal patterns—coalesce into a burning mix inflamed by wah-wah guitars and stratospheric synth wails. Though the album remains largely uptempo, the pace slows during the chilled head-nodder “Chip Shop Shuffle.” “5 to 2 Special” and “Only Way Back (Is to Walk)” cruise through languid disco-house and shimmying Latin-house respectively but the album peak is indisputably “Getta Groove On…” which ascends to epic levels over an eight-minute duration. Starting out in lush house style, the piece grows so infectious when the bumping groove intensifies and the arrangement swells that the entranced listener has little choice but to surrender to the song's swirling piano chords and criss-crossing synth flares.

Like the music of other Ai artists, Yunx's sound defies easy categorization. The group's music is too lush to be called microhouse yet too understated for house, and while there are elements of techno, hip-hop, and even jazz, no one style predominates. If one could purge IDM of the associations currently clinging to it, calling In the Heat of the Night 'intelligent dance music' wouldn't be out of line. Regardless, the Ai imprimatur consistently brings with it a guarantee of high quality and Yunx's album, like other recent Ai outings by Jacen Solo and Michael Manning, doesn't disappoint on that level.

August 2005