"It's about white label culture in the digital age" say Hot City You couldn't put it much more clearly than that, really. Hot City are about that feeling from the heyday of rave, that feeling of hearing the DJ play a piece of vinyl hot off the presses, of recognising something about it yet knowing it's something practically nobody's ever heard before, of having to have it, of asking around and chasing it down, of mystery and pursuit and the sense of achievement that comes when you actually lay your hands on that track that takes you back to the dancefloor moment. And they are about proving that that feeling is alive and well now in the age of instant access and mass genre-pileups.
This is not some retro thing, though. For sure the production duo have served their time on dancefloors and behind decks and mixing desks in dance scenes more diverse than you might believe possible, and for sure they bring a little of what they've picked up along the way into every track they make. But the elements of the past they use are not there to invoke the past but to speak directly of 2010 music, of the new ways of looking at musical influence, of the convergence of musical knowledge that comes from colliding scenes in a clubland that is throwing away the micro-genre anxieties of the 2000s like so many empty Wayfarer frames.
They discard any conception of "cool", too; although you can hear some of the most gloriously rarefied and rare music echoing through Hot City tracks, you can hear the most shamelessly, guilelessly fun and populist sounds too. So there are echoes of old Strictly Rhythm dubs ("deep down inside, deep-deep down inside" anyone?), of the alien rave of the first Movin' Shadow tunes, of the militant Detroit electro of Drexciya (HC's deliberate anonymity is partially inspired by the "perfect stripping down to bare essentials" of Drexciya's high-concept image and releases)... And then there are echoes of bangin' piano diva scream-ups and the most dressed-up champagne-swigging excesses of UK garage – this is the act, after all, who tracked down Unknown MC of Pied Piper 'Do You Really Like It' fame for one of their tracks. Is that even a hint of – whisper it – happy hardcore and rampant northern-club-friendly hard dance that you can hear in the duo's relentless pursuit of, as they put it, "the cheer moment" in their tracks? Don't rule it out, that's all I'm saying.
You can file Hot City records wherever you like. You can call them rave revivalists or you can put them next to the newest convergent sounds of post-dubstep and UK funky. They're just as happy playing next to garage legends Ramsay & Fen as next to the intricate dubstep scientists Spatial (who have released Hot City tunes on their much-respected Infrasonics label), and their tunes will mix into Todd Terry or Cooly G, Basement Jaxx or Brackles, 2 Bad Mice or – if you're that way inclined – 2 Unlimited. Let frowning messageboard analysts fit them into this or that sub-stream of this or that movement within rave and post-rave music; Hot City know that it all flows to and from the same place: the dancefloor. As the old voice echoing through the years says, "house is a feeling" - well Hot City is a feeling too, and when that feeling hits, you'll know it and you'll want to track down the source...