Published Nov 29, 2019The three deep, raw cuts that are compiled on this debut release from Toronto-based label Selections punch above their weight. They go toe-to-toe with the work of Detroit artists Moodymann, Theo Parrish or Rick Wilhite. The uninitiated would be forgiven for mistaking any of these names as a producer behind those smoky jazz samples, rugged drums and an overall late-night vibe.
But Selected Works is unmistakably vintage Nick Holder. This EP is a flashback from the Toronto DJ and producer's roughly 30 years in the studio. The tracks are exhumed from a trio of releases Holder dropped between '98 and '99. While licensing issues limited the scope of material, label boss Mark Kufner (aka Toronto Hustle) could draw from, the tidy sampler doesn't suffer much for it.
Both "Love Is Blind" and "Blackman" play off each other nicely, with muddy chords and strung-out sax bits, while the second B-side track, "She Likes It (Remix)," sees Holder rework his own material with a tribal-house touch. The remix has less drive than the original, but it'd work perfectly well as an interlude, and hints at the variety that a broader retrospective might offer.
Selected Works is both a handy DJ tool and a convincing introduction to one of Toronto's — and dance music's — underrated artists. (Selections)