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Critiques CD: Azari & III | Azari & III

Reviewing Azari & III’s decadent self-titled debut feels like a trip down ‘90s memory lane, when you’d have to special-order European vinyl imports to stay up to speed on the latest techno cuts. The Toronto quartet’s sinful deep house package was released in 2011 across the pond, but has only now “officially” found homes in the U.S. (Dim Mak) and Canada (Turbo). In the meantime, their fabulously dark and dapper beats have become my de facto pre-party playlist, full of luxurious synth textures, dangerous late-80s energy and boundary-pushing basslines. Azari & III (vocalists Fritz Helder and Starving Yet Full, producers Alixander III and Montreal-bred Dinamo Azari) got their start playing at various Hogtown afterhour joints and gay clubs. They’re what you’d call futuristic house revivalists. Their rebellious lyrics and sleazy synths pay homage to the libertarian days of early Chicago house, yet their instrumentals remain grounded in cutting-edge sounds. Their standout track “Reckless (With Your Love)” is both an unabashed celebration of warehouse disco escapism and a cautionary reminder of AIDS-era recklessness. Azari & III supply soulful jams, sassy beats and a hint of late-night menace. November 3rd at Metropolis.