The late 80s and early 90s in New York City were a heyday for the club scene, raves and house music. HH&B became part of that grand tradition in the early 90s when DJ Halo-Halo and DJ Bula met while working in NYC clubs. They began collaborating together shortly thereafter and now over 20 years and countless singles later, this duo has achieved legendary status in not only the New York club scene but in the international rave and EDM scenes. HH&B just released their first single in almost a year, entitled We Come Together, and it is sure to create waves in the clubs, per usual.
The past year or so has been quiet for HH&B. The duo put out three singles in 2014 as well as a compilation of remixes of pop hits like David Bowie’s Ground Control, The Sugar Hill Gang’s Apache and even Kiss’ Rock and Roll All Night. All club anthems to be sure, but HH&B’s real artistry lies in their original tracks. We Come Together features newcomer vocalist Jun Rarela and is a throwback to the feel-good disco house sounds of the 90s club scene in which Halo-Halo and Bula cut their teeth. Clubs such as Discotheque, Speed, Exit and Fashion 40 Lounge swelled with heavy bass, colorful characters and uplifting messages during this period. It is clear HH&B wanted to capture this bygone magic in We Come Together.
We Come Together is a bit of a departure for HH&B, as their releases in 2014 were more techno-infused hard house anthems like Make Some Noise and Let It Go. On We Come Together, the duo’s characteristic rave style is decidedly muted in favor of more funky melodies. Rather than singular punctuated samples, the vocal track features Jun Rarela singing a complete song with verse and chorus over the disco-style beat. Older house fans will likely find this piece quite nostalgic while new EDM festival-goers may enjoy the deep house beat of We Come Together. The track seems to be a nice pairing of old style with new techniques.
The only issue with We Come Together is that some of the production values seem a bit canned. It is unclear as to whether this is a choice by HH&B or simply an oversight, but some areas of the snare and secondary drum tracks seem as though they could have a fuller sound. This would make the track even more reminiscent of the warmer tones that could be produced by older mixing boards like the 808 or even the Pioneer lines from the 90s. It is difficult sometimes with modern softwares to replicate those sounds, and as HH&B are known for brighter and louder rave anthems, something might have been lost in translation when they put together the more subtle tones and snares of We Come Together. This small potential oversight is negligible, however, especially if the track is played in a loud club by a skilled DJ.
DJs Halo-Halo and Bula as HH&B have seen the rave landscape change markedly over their 23 years working together, and their chosen medium of deep house has become hugely popular in recent years. With We Come Together, HH&B give new fans a taste of where this EDM genre originated: in the packed clubs and warehouses of the 90s New York club scene. A throwback to those times yet thoroughly modern, We Come Together takes pause to reflect on the history of house while this duo ponder their future. For more information on HH&B and to hear their work, visit their Soundcloud and Youtube pages.
Review by Layla Klamt
Youtube: HH&B: We Come Together
Photos courtesy of artist’s promo package