Keeno18 Channel 18
Published Feb 24, 2016Once in a while a youngster comes along who resets your thinking on the status quo. One such individual is Keeno18, aka Reggie Johnson, a 23-year-old football star who inherited a rare vinyl collection from a DJ in Detroit and let it shape his musical pathway. His debut release for Jimmy Edgar's Ultramajic imprint is so refreshingly simple that it makes you wonder why so many even bother with complex club music. There's something truly impressive about the way Johnson takes really basic elements and crafts them into such an enjoyable release.
Take "Hutenzo," for example: It's got repetitive barking yips, a rudimentary four-note synth loop, hi-hats that could've been ripped straight from a Casio keyboard and the absolute plainest bass line known to man, but somehow it works. In the wrong hands, these ingredients could easily have produced a track somewhere between laughably childish and extremely annoying, yet Johnson manages to create club-ready fare throughout Channel 18 with nothing but toys and enthusiasm. "QRTZ" and "Fire Procedure" haven't got a lot going on either, but damned if they don't belong in an Atlanta DJ's midnight set.
Granted, this is just his first release, and it's by no means perfect, but considering the potential for growth here, Johnson might want to consider trading in his helmet for a set of headphones sometime in the future. (Ultramajic Records)