Fat laces, parachute pants, iron-on t-shirts and a scrap sheet of linoleum floor. That description may take you back to the late 70s or early 80s. Hardly will the fall of 2001 come to mind. European DJ Def Cut has a firm grip on how it used to be for the B-Boy. Some of us remember how the ciphers used to feel, how they used to look, how the energy generated from one dancer moved it's way through the corwd sending chills to those in attendance. "Return to Burn" brings all of that back for ya. There is plenty of drums, hand claps, chants, and well....energy. In the same manner PE's "It Takes a Nation of Millions..." appealed to the Black consciousness, "Return to Burn" should do the same for any newly forged B-Boy's awareness. The sounds are of the traditional sort where you get plenty of horns and bongos coming in and out for proper song breaks, just enough to allow a dancer to incorporate the musical vibe into their display of skills.
Not letting the music do it all for the listener, Def Cut uses some commentary from concerts or parties to reach the people. The track "Teachin'" goes about the business of distinguishing the differnece between Hip-Hop and Rap. Some lessons are always to be reinforced I guess. The following track doesn't waste any time getting you back into spinning on your hands and buffing the floor with your back. "R.I.P. Marcos" and "Point of No Return" will have your BVD's all sweaty. These tracks aren't for the novice. You should be properly skilled when wanting to enjoy these cuts. Well over 100 bpms, you will feel it. Especially if you really like to hear cuts with a little touch of arabian nights mixed into the jam. "Point of No Return" pushes the ol' arabian sound all over the place. Before you know what hit you, you've done popped and locked yourself all the way down the Nile.
Some smart sampling emergers with "Phase" and "Just Listening." Phase starts off with what sounds like two persons telling a joke in German, but then quickly jumps into some ol' instructional ish' about moving your body. Accompanied by a strong piano portion and disco horns that lead you right up to an acapella flow. "Just Listening" takes seven seconds of Teddy P's smooth voice and turns it into a 1:19 LP bridge that leads you into a KRS driven "Wake Up." Here is where the LP takes a hard right in it's sound.
The rest of the LP sounds like concert takes of simpler songs. The drums are even fiercer and the sampling is obviously heavier. Even Bob James' Westchester Lady finds time to dance with the people on "Back to the Funk." The familiar organ chord is sped up to meet the approval of choreographer Darrin and Tae-Bo front man Billy Blanks.
While fans of Fatboy Slim, Prodigy and Chemical Brothers may by the ones in the aisles checking this release out -- it is 100% B-Boy Hip-Hop music. Where a lot of dance records take you through the same sped up samples and constant BPM, "Return to Burn" offers more than that one favorite you only want to hear. Def Cut takes you to other hide-aways in Hip-Hop that you should have been looking for by now. Forget that idea about the sound being retro, because his shit is here right now, in ya face. You can either join in the cipher and test ya skills or onlook from the side cheering heads on to get down with the fresh ish. May the force be with you!
Music Vibes: 8 of 10 Dance Vibes: 9 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 8.5 of 10
Originally posted: October 14, 2001